Tips & Guides / Moving Guides

How to Find an Apartment Where You Don’t Currently Live

By Jessica Goudreault | Oct 6, 2021
Apartment building with couch and view

If you’re looking to travel to a new city, state, or even country, you’re going to need to find a place to live. But how do you find a good apartment in a safe location when you don’t currently live in that area?

Here are some suggestions on how to feel good about choosing an apartment in a new location:

Go visit

If you can afford to go visit where you want to live, definitely go. Not only will you get to experience the new city firsthand, but you can keep your eye out for potential neighborhoods that you want to live in.

For instance, I visited Nashville with the intention of eventually moving there. I got to know which areas felt safe and welcoming, and which spots I wanted to avoid. When it came time to find an apartment, I knew where to focus my search. And, as a bonus, I made some local friends, so now I’ll be able to reconnect with them when I move there!

It may go without saying, but always be careful. It’s always safest to explore new places during the day and with a friend. If you get bad vibes from an area, call an Uber ASAP, and move on to somewhere new.

Rely on local friends

It’s always best to lease an apartment after you’ve seen the actual property, since we all know looks can be deceiving. So, when you find an apartment you like, but you can’t physically tour the property, see if a local friend can.

Your friend can FaceTime with you while they visit, or send you pictures and videos afterward. They can also get a good feel for the neighborhood and the landlord, which can be tough to do from miles away.

The person who scopes out the apartment doesn’t have to be your best friend, either. If you don’t know anyone in the area, just ask around. Odds are one of your friends or family members will know someone who can help you out. 

Make Google Maps your friend

When you’re searching for an apartment online, Google Maps is your best friend. You can get to know a neighborhood really well with street view—sometimes, a little too well (for a laugh, check out 25 WTF moments caught on Google Street View!).

But seriously, that little orange guy has helped me out so many times. Companies can make apartments look glamorous and beautiful from the inside, but a quick peek on street view can expose any bad property or sketchy neighborhood.

When searching on Google Maps, look for what matters most: Do you want to be near a certain office, school, or favorite bar? Is it better to be closer to a grocery store than a shopping mall? Are you close to public transportation

You can spend hours researching just how far everything is from your apartment via car, bike, and walking. And why not spend the time? It’s where you’re going to live after all!

How I found my apartment 

I searched online for weeks to find the perfect apartment in Nashville. Unfortunately, I mostly just found scam after scam after scam on Craigslist. 

Finally, I discovered Landing. They offered luxury apartments from trusted sources, and they had plenty of positive reviews, tours for all the apartments, and great customer service. Once I found an apartment that spoke to me, I jumped onto Google Maps and found that it was in a safe neighborhood, it was only a short drive to Broadway, and it was right next to Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. It couldn’t be more perfect!

I hopped on a call with a Landing representative immediately to confirm all the details and reassure me that yes, the apartment was real and available. And voila! I will be moving into my dream apartment this October. 

Always go with your gut

Lastly, I just wanted to say to always be careful. If something looks too good to be true or sends off alarm bells in your head, then there’s probably a reason. Never agree to an apartment you don’t feel completely comfortable with. The right one will always come along, and you’ll be ready when it does.

Jessica Goudreault

Jess is a freelance travel writer and digital marketing specialist who has been traveling the United States for over a year with her dog, cat, 10 house plants, and anything else she can fit in her Subaru. She specializes in writing about the best food, drinks, and outdoor activities she tries based on local recommendations. You can catch her hopping from city to city every three months, writing about her travels while sipping on a nice cold pint.