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8 Steps to Finding the Perfect Apartment in Downtown Phoenix

By Megan

With an array of restaurants, bars and venues in downtown Phoenix, living within walking distance of all these attractions can make your experience that much more exciting. However, with so many apartments to choose from, finding the perfect apartment can be a daunting task.

At Moontower, we understand that finding housing can be a difficult process.

Read Next: Ultimate Guide to Living in Downtown Phoenix

For this reason, we have crafted a guide to help you understand what the process consists of, and how to best approach it. Find the perfect apartment for your needs by following these eight steps to a smooth apartment search.

8 Steps to Finding the Perfect Apartment in Phoenix, AZ

Step 1: Pick Your Ideal Location

Moontower light-up sign outside the building

Moontower is located on Roosevelt Row at 811 N. 3rd Street, just a 3-minute walk from First Friday.

So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to start looking for an apartment – now what?

The first step in your apartment search is choosing a location. Because many apartments in downtown Phoenix are only a short walk between each other, you really can’t go wrong with choosing a location. However, depending on your lifestyle, you may prefer to be closer to some places downtown than others.

For example, if you attend or work at ASU Downtown, it may be beneficial to choose a property closest to campus. If you tend to spend your nights exploring bars and restaurants downtown, living on Roosevelt Row might be most ideal for you. Or, if you’re a big sports fan, living within walking distance to Chase Field might be optimal for you. That way you’ll never have to miss a Suns game!

Additionally, if you don’t have a car but commute outside the city, living next to a Metro station would save you time each morning. Even if you enjoy traveling outside downtown, this may be the most convenient option for you.

These are just a few questions you might ask yourself when deciding on location. To find the location best for you, make a short list of places you frequent to pick the ideal location for your lifestyle.

Step 2: Determine Whether or Not You’ll Have a Roommate

Best Coffee Shops Phoenix

Photography by Brookklyn Huberty.

Now that you have selected the perfect location for your lifestyle, it’s time to determine if you will have a roommate.

Feeling unsure about whether a roommate is right for you? We have provided a list of pros and cons to help you decide:


  • Affordability – A roommate will allow the cost of living to be divided amongst the group, therefore lessening your cost of living.
  • Community – With a roommate around, you will always have a live-in friend and companion to explore Phoenix with. If you’re new to the city, or you enjoy being around others, a roommate is an excellent way to help you adjust to a new setting and keep you company.


  • Distraction – While roommates can be fun to have around, they can also be a distraction, especially when it comes to focusing on your work or having downtime.
  • Reduced Privacy – If you value personal space and having time alone, living on your own may be your best option to maximize privacy.

Step 3: Decide Which Amenities You Value

Residents laying by the pool at Moontower

Once you’ve decided on an ideal location and roommate, you will have to make a decision about amenities. It is important to decide on your non-negotiables vs.  your wants. It is also important to consider what will be located in your unit vs. in the greater apartment complex.

The two lists below provide you with common options of in-unit and community amenities:

In-Unit Amenities

  • Washer/dryer
  • Closet size
  • Modern design features
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Window size
  • Balcony

Community Amenities

  • Pool and hot tub
  • Fitness center
  • Coffee bar on-site
  • Clubhouse/lounge
  • Pet spa
  • Yoga studio
  • Coworking spaces
  • On-site concierge
  • Security
  • Package lockers
  • Parking

Next, determine a list of amenities that you absolutely must have, as well as those that you don’t need but would like. This list will serve as a reference throughout your apartment search when selecting and narrowing down which apartments you’d like to tour.

While the two lists above provide a lot of amenities to consider, they are not all-encompassing – we recommend looking at your potential apartment website to determine which amenities they might have that are not on these lists.

Step 4: Determine Your Price Range

Outside view of Fleet Coffee at Moontower PHX

Next, it is important to set a price range and maximum amount that you are willing to spend.

There are a variety of costs that can influence the end price of your unit. These may include:

  • Parking – Almost all apartments offer parking options, but many of them are offered at an additional cost.
  • Pet rent and/or pet deposit – If you have a pet, many apartments will charge you an extra fee. This can be a one-time deposit, an additional monthly fee, or both.
  • Utilities – Most apartments charge an additional fee for utilities.
  • Renter’s insurance – While many apartments offer renter’s insurance, some do not. Apartments that do offer renter’s insurance typically charge an additional fee.

For more information on additional costs and fees, we have put together a list of 13 Costs to Consider When Looking for an Apartment in Downtown Phoenix.

After considering the price of additional fees, you will be able to set a budget that works best for your housing needs.

Step 5: Make a Short List of Places to Tour

After you have completed the first four steps and decided on your price range, it is time to narrow down your list. Search online for places that meet your budget, wish list, and desired location.

Once you’ve decided on which places you’re most interested in, find their contact page and book a tour. Explore your options, and be sure not to settle if the apartment complex does not meet your desired criteria.

Step 6: Go on Property Tours

Exterior of Moontower PHX, a new luxury apartments in downtown phoenix

Once you have determined which apartments meet your living needs, it is time for the exciting part – you are finally ready to tour your potential new homes!

When touring an apartment complex, it is important to keep in mind:

  • Utilities – Some apartment complexes will charge additional fees for utilities such as internet, cable, trash, electric, water, sewage, or gas. Take note of what is included in your monthly rent.
  • Amenities – As we discussed previously, it is important that your apartment complex has the amenities that are most important to you. Does the community have a pool? A fitness center? Does your apartment have a walk-in closet? A balcony? Be sure to take note of all amenities they have to offer.
  • Floor Plan – It is important to have a proper amount of space for you to comfortably live in. If you are generally social and enjoy being out of your home, then a floor plan with less square footage may be suitable. However, if you value space, then a larger floor plan may be worth the extra cash.
  • Windows – Apartments can vary greatly when it comes to natural lighting and window size. If this is something you value in your home, be sure to account for it on your tour.
  • Views – Depending on location, many apartments near downtown Phoenix offer a wide variety of views within each apartment! Ask your tour guide about your options if this is part of your wishlist.

Most importantly, be sure to ask questions! It is best to have the answers to your questions ahead of time before you begin the process of signing your lease.

Read Next: 11 Questions You Should Ask When Touring an Apartment in Downtown Phoenix

Step 7: Fill Out an Application

After touring properties, you have now found an apartment that you’re really interested in – it’s time to apply!

Filling out an application at an apartment is generally a 15-20 minute process. For the majority of properties in downtown Phoenix, you can expect to fill these forms out online.

To apply, you will need to answer basic information, such as your driver’s license information, emergency contact, pet information, current residence, etc.

You will have to pay an application fee to finish your application. These fees usually range from $50 to $100 and cover the cost of the apartment to run a background check.

Once your application is approved, you will be ready for your last step – signing a lease!

Step 8: Sign your Lease

Last but not least, it is time to sign your lease!

Usually around 30-50 pages, a lease is a contractual arrangement calling for the resident to pay the landlord for use of the apartment.

It is valuable to read each page thoroughly to understand the terms of your lease. It’s important to know what you’re getting into – remember, this is a legally binding contract.

You will want to pay close attention to dates and fees, and take note of when you will pay rent each month, when your lease term ends, etc. Leases generally range from 6 to 18 months, but make sure to ask before you sign! Shorter leases are available at some properties, but are often priced higher per month than leases that are a year long or greater.

You should gather your bank account statements, pay stubs, and Social Security number for the landlord to run a credit check.

For more information on the process of signing a lease, read our article on How to Lease a Downtown Phoenix Apartment: A Step by Step Guide.

While it can seem daunting at first, once it is broken down into steps, finding an apartment can be a simple process.

Have Some Heavy Lifting? Get our list of local moving companies who can help.

If you need additional help in your search, feel free to reach out to the Moontower leasing team who are happy to answer any questions you might have regarding your search for student housing.

We hope that these steps have helped you understand the process of finding an apartment. By following these eight steps, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect apartment for you in downtown Phoenix!

Megan headshot


Megan is a regular contributing author for, covering leasing tips and all things downtown Phoenix. She has 3 years of experience in multifamily leasing and marketing. In her free time, you'll find Megan on a run, trying out new restaurants, or attending a yoga class.

March 09, 2023

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