Congrats on looking to get a new place for yourselves! There's a couple things you should consider when looking to rent an apartment. Location, commute from work or school, proximity to the interstate or shopping/dining/schools, safety & crime, etc. Definitely shop around and compare rents and floor plans. A tip would be to consider utilities such as cable, electric/gas, water & sewage, when thinking of the overall monthly rent expenses. Doing so will help you be more financially prepared. Some places do offer some paid utilities so be sure to ask. And there are several rental options available aside from apartments such as condos, townhouses, duplexes, and single family homes, some rented by property management companies and others privately. It really depends on what you can comfortably afford monthly. The key word there is comfortably. Definitely choose a place that meets most, if not all, of your needs without putting you into debt. That wouldn't be good in the long term when you finally consider buying a place of your own. Before you do anything, make sure to check your budget and check your credit scores. When renting, many places will be looking for established, and good, credit. Application fees will be required and so will security deposits at most places, usually equal to one month's rent. Once you have your financial house in order, start asking people you know for recommendations. They may be able to shed some light on places they've liked living in or even ones to stay away from. Shop around. Tour the places during the day then drive around in the afternoon and evening to see what it's like at different times of the day. Once you land on something you like, get an application in and be prepared for a credit check.
I hope I've been able to cover the basics for you. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me. My email is Yaitza.Canterbury@HamiltonsRealty.com. Best of luck in your search!