Not all apartments are created with multiple people in mind. Maybe you have a family or are a new couple who would like a little more space than a traditional, smaller apartment has to offer. Your standard studio, one-bedroom and even some two-bedroom apartments may not cut it.

Nope. You and your kids, spouse, pets, etc. need more room to operate. Never fear! There are apartment options out there to fit your situation. You just need to know where to look. You may be more interested in a rental house or apartment complex with townhouses or other larger layouts.

Here are some apartment search tips for families, couples and others who might appreciate that extra space to help figure out what rental style could be the best fit.

What’s your situation?

Before starting your rental housing search, it’s a good idea to determine your wants and needs in an apartment.

For example, if you have a family with children, then consider what amenities they would appreciate. Are there parks, playgrounds or community pools nearby? Maybe libraries, YMCAs or other community centers? These could offer great recreational opportunities for both you and the kids.

Additionally, for families with children, you may want to consider proximity to schools. Even if the apartment is a temporary solution until you can buy a home, having a school nearby that you know your kids might attend is a definite plus for transportation purposes. The same can be said for daycare facilities or in-home daycares. In Iowa, you can find a listing of area daycares online through the state of Iowa’s website.

Or, maybe you and a spouse don’t have kids yet and want to be close to the center of activity in a small town. That could be the downtown area or close to it. Make sure to consider the proximity to employers, too.

Is there enough space?

This may seem an obvious consideration, but it’s important. Consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms a rental has and whether that is enough for you, your family and any guests you may have over from time to time.

For families with children, consider whether there is enough space to expand and grow a family, or if you will be looking for a new place to live once those circumstances change.

Other factors that may be important to those with a need for plenty of space are whether an apartment or house rental comes with a garage or if there is additional storage space available.

Apartment amenities and features

We’ve covered the bed/bath topic, but there are other apartment and rental amenities that families and others with more space needs will need to consider.

If you like to entertain, then make sure to find a rental with enough kitchen and dining space, otherwise you may find yourself playing host less often than you’d like. You may want to look for houses with nice backyards that are suitable for entertaining. If you have kids, then ask yourself if you’re OK with a yard that’s not fenced in.

You will also want to lock down how you will do laundry. Does your rental unit come with a washer and dryer or at least hookups? It’s pretty convenient, especially for families and busy individuals, to be able to do laundry at home rather than at a laundromat.

Think about the neighbors

No matter your situation, whether a family or young couple, you will want to ask potential landlords about the neighbors.

If you have kids, consider asking how many other families with children also live in the apartment complex or area. If you are a couple, then whether or not there are other couples around your age may be information that’s of use.

If you are looking at a rental house, then ask the owner the same questions you would ask a property manager. Drive around a bit and see if you can get a good sense of what the neighborhood is like.

Don’t be afraid to approach people who are outside or walking in the neighborhood. Let them know you are thinking of moving into the neighborhood and would like their opinion or any information that they believe may be useful. Most people, especially in the Lakes of Northwest Iowa area, are very friendly and enjoy being helpful to newcomers.

What are the maintenance responsibilities?

Maintenance and upkeep responsibilities can come into play with larger rentals, such as homes, duplexes, townhouses, etc. Take a look at any lease agreement or advertisement details to make sure you can handle those responsibilities.

With houses and other properties with lawns and driveways, for example, the tenant likely will be responsible for those duties, at least in our area. Talk these duties over with the landlord. Ask if any of the responsibilities are negotiable.

It’s better to know and be able to prepare (i.e. purchase a lawn mower and maybe even a snow blower) if needed.

Ask a local or your employer to help search

Once you start your rental house or apartment search, you may run into complications. Finding a suitable apartment is not always easy, no matter where you are looking. There are ways to speed up the search.

Don’t be afraid to call up area acquaintances or even local real estate agents to see if they can lend you a hand or point you in a better direction.

If you are moving for a job, then your employer may also have ideas or solutions for how to find a good place. While you’re having that discussion, make sure to ask about any possible relocation benefits. It never hurts to ask!

Start your rental search

Ready to begin looking for rentals in the Lakes of Northwest Iowa area? You’ve come to the right place. We have a listing of properties that may have openings.

We also have gathered tips to help you get started in your apartment or rental home search.

In need of a job? We have that covered, too. Check out our featured employer listing.

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