You must be extremely clear on what you need up front so you don’t waste time with listings that are too far from your work or kid’s school, apartments too small or beyond your budget. Make a clear list of your top priorities including location, size, how many bedrooms, bathrooms or other essential items like a spot in a garage or a big balcony. Next, draft a list of items where you are more flexible. Most importantly, clarify the time you can view listings, when you can move in and how long you need your lease to be. Most landlords ask for a minimum one year lease. If you like the place, the chances are high that someone else does too, so it’s important to be clear with your intentions and reserve the apartment as soon as possible.