Those of you who are my Facebook friends know that this week, I’ve begun the process of looking for a new apartment to rent. If I move, this will be the 26th time in my 28 years I’ve put my things into boxes and moved to another location.

Currently, I live in 220 square feet several blocks from the ocean in beautiful Bar Harbor Maine. Everything in that sentence sounds great, but I challenge you to measure out 220 square feet and then imagine yourself living and working from that space. Don’t forget your bed, desk, kitchen, bathroom, table…Now in your mind, add a dog and those items that come with dog ownership to your floorplan. So you may understand why I’m beginning to feel a little squeezed in over the last year.

I get made fun of by my friends for how much I research apartments. I usually look at at least 7 or 8 but will get information on about 15-20. My home is somewhere I spend a lot of time and I find that usually if I am patient, I find something that is not only nice but affordable.

I’ve looked at three apartments so far and will look at another over the weekend. Here’s what I’m going on as far as rules:

Newspapers give you a good idea of what the ‘going rate’ is, but that’s a starting off point. I’m a professional and a non-smoker. I have never had issues with landlords and have tons of great references. For a good tenant, I think a landlord would negotiate. I feel like the initial cost per month I see listed in an ad is not set in stone but a starting point for negotiations.

Friends who work in professional places have access to fantastic newsletters. If you know someone who works at a hospital, university, or other large professional employer, there is usually some kind of internal listings on the company website or in a newsletter. These landlords want a reliable tenant and are willing to rent a nicer place at a lower cost to the right person. I had several friends send me lists like this (thanks to them!) and the offers are much better than what I found advertised in the usual locations.

I am considering other options, including commercial real estate and getting a roommate. In moving apartments, I am not just considering moving from a studio to a one bedroom. I am also thinking beyond this.

For example, I was able to find office space for $200/month, which would work on freeing up space in my apartment if I chose to keep living here. I am also considering getting a two bedroom apartment and then finding a roommate (with the landlord’s permission of course). There are certainly multiple solutions to the space issue and ignoring any of them seems silly at this point.

While I know this is a pain now, I know that having more space will definitely be more productive and happy. I’ll be thinking a lot this weekend that’s for sure.

Any real estate tips I’m currently not considering? I can certainly use all the help I can get!

Tomorrow’s post: Why I think this move will save me money in the long run

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