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Looking for an Austin, TX, apartment can seem like a daunting task. This task can become even more overwhelming if you’re new to the area. But whether you’re moving to Austin from another city or you’ve lived here your whole life, finding an Austin apartment can be quick and easy with these five hacks.

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1. Pick Your Top 3 Neighborhoods

Austin is famous for its countless, diverse neighborhoods. There is a place for every interest and lifestyle. Hate commuting? Consider living downtown or in Clarksville. Want to be able to walk to great restaurants and lively nightlife? South Congress and South Lamar are always bustling with activity. Looking for an up-and-coming neighborhood with cozy live music venues? East Austin is the place for you. Make a list of your top three contenders and spend an afternoon exploring to get a firsthand feel of the neighborhoods.

2. List Your Amenities

You may already know that Austin gets nearly 300 sunny days per year. For many, this means having a pool nearby is a top priority. Finding an Austin apartment quickly is easier when you know which amenities are most important to you. If you go to the gym every day and you’re hoping to eliminate that extra expense, then make “state-of-the-art fitness center” a non-negotiable amenity for your potential home. If you have a dog, then you need to focus your search on pet-friendly Austin apartments with dog parks. Whether you’re looking for standard amenities or something truly unique, you can find an Austin apartment to suit your every need.

3. Know How Much Space You Need

Just knowing you want two bedrooms is not enough when you’re looking for an apartment in Austin. A two-bedroom apartment can drastically vary in size. For example, some two-bedroom units offer an en-suite master bathroom, a dedicated dining area, and a chef’s kitchen. Others are two closets with a living room that triples as your kitchen and dining room. You should know not only how many bedrooms you need, but also if you want a dining room, two bathrooms, a large kitchen, and lots of closet space. The more must-haves you have on your list, the quicker you’ll be able to find the perfect Austin apartment.

4. Set a Firm Budget

Austin offers many luxurious apartments, but if you know you can’t afford it, why waste your time on a tour? A good rule of thumb is to look at Austin apartments for rent that are no more than 25% of your gross (pre-tax) monthly salary. Don’t forget that you’ll also need several hundred dollars per month for utilities, cable and Internet, and any unforeseen expenses. If you’re worried about your budget, set a price limit that’s slightly under the 25% threshold to allow extra space for savings, student loan payments, or just more dinners out with friends.

5. Use an Apartment Locator

With so much to consider when looking for an Austin apartment, turn to the professionals. Apartment locators are licensed real estate agents and their services are absolutely free to you. That’s right: You team up with an expert who knows Austin inside and out to help you find the exact apartment you’re looking for and it costs you zero dollars. Apartment locators also know all of the best incentives offered by the various apartment complexes around town and can help you save some major cash. Incentives could include 6 weeks of free rent, no deposit required, gift cards, and more. Your locator will help you find the perfect apartment, at the price you’re looking for, and hopefully with some sweet incentives to go along with it. What are you waiting for? Start your search today!