The key to finding your perfect place is to know what you want. Do you have to have a dishwasher or are you willing to compromise if you find a great place that doesn't have one? Knowing what you can and can't compromise on will help narrow down your search and save you time.
What type of housing do you prefer? Condo, apartment or duplex? Be aware of your budget and then make a decision.
Where do you want to live? City or suburbs? The suburbs are usually cheaper than city living. Apartment prices go up the closer they are to shopping, entertainment, etc.
How many bathrooms? The more bathrooms that you want, the higher the price.
Outside space: Do you want a balcony or deck? This is one of those amenities that you will have to pay extra for if you want it.
Special amenities: Such as a gym, pool or game room? It's usually the luxury apartments that offer/include these things in your rent.
Do you need parking? Very rarely is parking included in rent if you're in the city. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $75 to $400 monthly for parking. If you choose to live in the suburbs you have a better chance of parking being included.
Remember, it's best to think through what you do and don't want in a place to live before starting the process of finding a place. Good luck and happy hunting!