4 Tips For Finding and Buying Your First Apartment

A person holding keys.

Buying your first apartment might as well be your first largest investment, which often makes the process a bit complicated. As opposed to buying a home, when you purchase an apartment, you don’t own the land.

It’s therefore prudent to plan before you go shopping for this new investment. But most importantly, you need to be armed with some guidelines on how to avoid common pitfalls.

A person is holding a magnifying glass over a red house while house hunting.

Here are practical tips to help familiarize yourself with the nuances of buying your first apartment.

1. Do your homework

Where do you want to stay? How much are you willing to shell out on the new apartment? What are the experiences you wish to have at your new residential space? Answering these questions will be a breeze once you’ve done your homework.

A couple looking at blueprints and considering buying their first apartment.

Getting the right building requires you to gather all the information you can and meticulously consider a range of options so that by the time you make your pick, whatever you choose is truly right for you.

Remember that factors such as your lifestyle and health will determine what part of the city you can live in. Other considerations will include the distance from your place of work and your preferred shopping facilities.

A group of people signing a document for buying their first apartment.

2. Get professional advice

You are stepping into uncharted waters; professional help can be a lifesaver. From the acquisition process to legal requirements, the right professionals can help you get the best apartment in your target location. Besides, you’ll save valuable time and perhaps get a good bargain.

If possible, try to get help from more than one professional to make sure you cover all your bases.

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A man and woman are sitting at a table with a loan officer, discussing buying their first apartment.

Specifically, resist the urge to write your own legal documents. Instead, get a real estate attorney to help you out with the legal side of things. Whether it’s about writing repair requests, managing escrow, examining the title on the property or reviewing your purchase documents, they have the experience and expertise to handle the job.

Other professionals whose help you’ll find invaluable are inspectors, an accountant and most importantly, a realtor. A real estate agent can help you get the apartment with the exact features you are looking for pretty much quickly.

A man and woman are buying their first apartment.

3. Read the bylaws if you are joining a community

Several perks might draw you into joining a community when buying your very first apartment.

But community living means living by a given set of rules. These are what makes it fair for everyone…they are probably what makes it that inviting to you.

A house on top of a book.

Be sure to get yourself a copy of the by-laws so you can read and understand the rules before you decide to join.

4. Keep an eye out for association fees and other incidental costs

You certainly don’t want to learn about substantial monthly charges payable to the building management only after you have bought the apartment.

A person is using a calculator to calculate the cost of buying their first apartment.

Different apartments have different monthly charges that are directly proportional to the amenities offered and the unit size. Inquire about these fees beforehand so you can make a selection that’s within your budget

That information will determine whether or not you’ll have the building with the 24-hour concierge service, the largest gym, or the biggest indoor pool.

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