Apartment Hunting Tips

Apartment hunting can be a headache if you hop in your car without a plan. Doing your homework before you decide to drive around aimlessly can make the process less frustrating. Apartment living has some benefits over home ownership, such as never having to worry about a flooded basement or a leaky roof. An apartment also offers security, safety, and the company of other residents.

When looking for a place of your own, the following apartment hunting tips might come in handy.

Do your research

If there is an address in an apartment rental ad, research the address with a web browser. Through pictures and satellite images you will see the property and surrounding area. You can also find out the location of any nearby shops, schools, and churches. A visual might save you a disappointing trip.

If you do like the property and neighborhood, take a walk and get the feel of the area. Does it offer you everything you are looking for in terms of shopping, transportation, and entertainment?

Get a second opinion

When going apartment hunting, it's a good idea to bring a family member or friend along. Two pairs of eyes see more than one. A companion can function as a sounding board and can help prevent you from settling on an unsuitable apartment just because you are frustrated.

Is the apartment right for you?

If you have lived in a house all your life, living in an apartment will be quite a change. Not only are the living quarters much smaller, but you won't have a backyard anymore.

Will your furniture fit into a smaller space? Do you have pets? Many apartment buildings will not allow pets, or if they do, they will charge a higher monthly rent and will ask for a larger deposit.

Can you afford it?

Before you start apartment hunting, look at you budget and hunt within your price range. When talking to a prospective landlord, ask about extra costs such as parking and utilities. Also, check the fine print of your lease for specifics about the conditions under which your deposit will be returned when you leave.

Pay attention to details

When hunting for a place, you might see ads such as "cozy apartment" or "newly renovated" apartment for rent. Cozy usually means small, while renovated might be nothing more than a thin coat of paint on the walls.

When visiting an apartment, be on the lookout for mouse and cockroach droppings. Check not only the walls and floor, but the kitchen cabinets and drawers.

Test if all the windows and doors open smoothly and can be locked.

See if the toilet flushes properly, and if you're not a fan of low flow, turn on the shower to test the strength of the water. Look at the ceiling for water stains. If there are marks this could mean that the apartment above has leaky pipes and mold could be present in the apartment.

If you like a particular apartment and you're thinking about signing the lease, make note of any damages and have the landlord sign the document. You don't want to be held responsible for existing damages before you move in.

Talk to other tenants

If you are lucky enough to find tenants in the apartment you're thinking of renting, talk to them privately. They might be able to warn you of possible flaws or disturbing noises in the building, and whether or not management responds quickly when there are problems.

By doing your homework and paying attention to important details, it is possible to find the apartment of your dreams.

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