How to choose the right neighborhood for your next apartment
Donovan Shuler
4 min read

No matter the province, borough, precinct, or district — neighborhood matters.

Figuring out which neighborhood to move to can be stressful, whether it’s a new part of town or a completely different state. With national rents climbing over 13% from coast to coast, finding out what neighborhood suits you and your needs is more important than ever.

Here are some things to consider when locating the perfect neighborhood for you:

  • Make your life easy: When looking for a neighborhood that feels like home, it's important to consider how centrally located you are to all of your needs. Where is your work located? What about your school, friends, and family? How does the rent impact how far you are willing to travel for the things that you care about?
  • Public parks: Taking a mental break by strolling through local parks can be a cheap and effective therapy session. Birds chirping, fresh air, bike trails, ponds to sit near, and athletic fields to enjoy can bring up your mood and outlook. Having access to public parks and outdoor recreation is definitely one for the 'win column' for apartment choices.
  • Cultural points of interest: Museums, universities, historical sights, and theaters nearby can make your apartment choice shine. Just knowing that culture is right outside your door can be inspiring and encourage you to choose certain neighborhoods over others.
  • Know your surroundings: Safety first is more than a mantra, and it's important when looking for places to rent to know just how walkable your neighborhood is. Use apps (Citizens, Neighbors, Nextdoor, etc.) and join organizations (block clubs) to determine the safety of a neighborhood you’re interested in. They can often give you a front-row glimpse into the security and responsiveness of a neighborhood and its emergency services.
  • Citizens App: Launched in 2017, Citizens is a mobile app that sends users location-based safety alerts in real-time. Participants read updates about ongoing situations, livestream video broadcasts, and leave comments on situations in their area.
  • Neighbors App: Developed by Ring, this app allows users to anonymously discuss crime and public safety issues within their local community. With a social network aesthetic, it caters to those who want to engage with their community and its safety.
  • Compare, compare, compare: When looking at different neighborhoods don’t be afraid to see how they stack up against each other. Sites like Zillow rank neighborhoods on things like walkability, transit access, and bike trails. Make sure that the neighborhood you’re looking at has all the amenities you want before you start looking at apartments.
  • Public transportation: If you’re looking for an apartment in the city, proximity to public transportation is generally at the top of the list. Parking is abhorrently expensive and gridlock traffic is another headache. City-dwellers rely on public transportation to get to work, social events, sporting events, etc. When considering an apartment, it’s a wise idea to see how close a public transportation route will be.

Trust your gut. At the end of the day, only you know what home means to you so trusting how a place makes you feel can make a world of a difference between two apartments.