Finding the perfect apartment in Chicago isn’t something most people do in a single day. While a few lucky individuals may stumble upon a great place without putting much effort into their search, it doesn’t often happen. There are a lot of apartments for rent in Chicago, but they’re not all going to fit your needs or wants. You’re going to want to make certain you have enough time to go through all of these almost perfect apartments until you find the one that’s exactly what you want. But how much time should you set aside for this task?
The Sweet Spot
Ideally, you want to spend enough time to get an idea of the market and what’s available, but not so much time that you begin to get frustrated. If you keep passing up apartments that meet all of your needs because you believe there’s something better or more affordable out there, you may lose out on some great options. On the other hand, if you jump at the first apartment you see that you feel somewhat excited about, you may later regret your decision. How do you know when you’ve found this sweet spot?
The Theory of Optimal Stopping
In mathematics, the theory of optimal stopping describes the point when you need to stop gathering options and make a decision. It can be applied to may things, including apartment hunting. For apartment hunting, a number of surveys and research projects have determined that the optimal stopping point can be summed up in one number: 37.
What does 37 mean? In this case, it’s a percentage. You want to set aside 37% of your apartment hunting schedule to looking at options. This means if you give yourself 30 days to find an apartment, you want to dedicate 37% of that time—eleven days—to looking at your options. After you’ve done this, it’s time to make a decision. If you keep looking, you won’t likely find any better options, and the options you have found may get snatched up by other renters.
How Does the Theory Actually Work?
The theory of optimal stopping may seem arbitrary, but mathematicians have spent quite some time testing it. The idea is that by devoting 37% of your time to looking at your options, you will have the time needed to establish your baseline. This is the line that you can use to divide acceptable apartments from those that do not work for you at all. You can use this baseline to quickly dismiss options that are too small, too expensive, in the wrong location, etc.
What should go into your baseline? Other than size, price, and location, you want to make sure you’re evaluating apartments based on something tangible. For example, an apartment is either the right size or it is not. It’s in a certain neighborhood or it’s not. Safety, amenities, being within walking distance to a commuter line, and other tangible factors can help you narrow down your list.
Once you’ve spent your 37% on finding apartment options and keeping or discarding them, it’s time to make a decision. If you do, the question then becomes “when do you stop?” When have you seen enough apartments? Your search for apartments becomes open-ended, and that means you may spend so much time looking for the perfect apartment that you have to settle for a subpar option because you’ve run out of time.
Spend your 37% with Us
Brixbid offers a variety of apartments for rent in Chicago. We offer a unique auction-style system where you bid what you’re willing to pay in rent for a property. If the apartment manager accepts your bid, you have a new home! Check out our listings in Chicago to start your search today.