This post originally appeared on This Is Quarterlife.
If you've ever gone apartment hunting in a high-demand rental area (ahem, NYC) you know that apartment rental FOMO is absolutely a thing.
You start your apartment hunt early, aware that there might be some deals to be had later on in the month. But then you find yourself viewing an apartment that fits most of your requirements and is right in your price range -- right at the beginning of your search.
From this point on, you start to torture yourself over whether or not you might be able to find something better.
What if you let this one go, and nothing comparable becomes available?
Or even worse, what if you jump on this apartment and a few weeks later you see something listed for cheaper, with better amenities, closer to the train?
The problem, of course, is that you don't have a crystal ball to see into the apartment listing future. All you can really do is weigh your pros and cons, and real talk yourself on whether or not this apartment fits most of what you're after.
Here's how I went about deciding whether or not to put an application in for one such apartment, and how I was able to ultimately overcome apartment rental FOMO.
1. Make a list of your "must haves" and your "wants"
Before you start typing away at your list, let's get clear on what each of those means.
"Must haves" are the things that you absolutely have to have in your next apartment. As in, you could not live there if the things on this list were not included.
Your price range should be at the top of your must haves list. Make sure you've crunched your numbers, and that you understand what a realistic budget per month would be (and don't forget to factor in things like utilities). You might also want to have a "reach budget" in mind; a price that is no more than 100 dollars over your ideal budget, which you'd be willing to pay if the apartment fit every single one of your must haves and wants.
Your "want" list should include the things that you'd really like to have, but ultimately could live without. For example, if you want to be very close to a train, but would still take the apartment if it met all of your must haves, consider train proximity a want.
In my case, my original budget was $1500. But when I came across a listing that was right in the heart of the neighborhood I wanted, one block from the subway for $1550, I had to go see it.
I wanted a kitchen that had a decent amount of space since I love to cook. But if all of my must haves were met, I would consider dealing with a smaller kitchen.
2. Ignore the pushy broker
In some cases, (again, NYC) brokers are being earnest when they say that the apartment won't last. However, if you've seen a place that you're not sold on and want an hour or two to think things over, don't feel pressured into putting an application in right on the spot.
After seeing an apartment that had all of my must haves but lacked a few of my wants, I needed some time to think on it. The broker who showed me the place was a little bit pushy, but was thankfully truthful when he told me that he didn't have anyone else coming to see the apartment that night -- but that he did have a few more people coming to see it the next day. This gave me 24 hours to push through the next step:
3. Ask three people you trust for their opinion
Why three? Too many competing opinions will leave you feeling conflicted, but asking too few people leaves room for you to feel unresolved. These three people should ideally include:
-A person who knows your tastes and habits extremely well
-A person who has been through a similar apartment hunt recently
-Your mom / dad or older, wiser person in your life
Talking through the pros and cons of the apartment with someone who knows your habits will help keep you focused on the important things that you're looking for, and help you let go of the wants that might not end up being as essential as you had previously thought.
Someone who has recently been through a similar apartment hunt will be able to somewhat put your fears at ease about whether or not there might be something better out there. This person will be able to speak to the listings they saw when they were looking, and help you figure out whether or not your apartment FOMO is justified.
Your parents, or older relative in your life, have been through so many bigger life changes than finding a place to live, and will ultimately talk down the mini panic attack you're likely having about whether or not this is the right decision.
4. Ask yourself these two very important questions
Can you see yourself living here?
If yes, what does that life look like to you? If it reads like a laundry list of compromises on big factors like price and proximity, don't apply. But if you can picture yourself being happy in this habitat, make the move.
Are you scared of losing it?
As my friend Stephanie put it, when you're scared of losing something, it means that you care about it. So if you care about losing out on that apartment, don't let it get away. Put in that application!
Apartment hunting (especially in NYC) can be a special kind of hell. Don't add apartment rental FOMO to your list of struggles. Besides, you'll need your energy to fight back against that pushy real estate broker.