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Apartment hunting can be fun, but it can also be stressful. Where do you begin? Is it possible to find the perfect place while sticking to a budget? It’s best to search with a strategy. Evaluate your needs and prioritize each factor.
Here are seven questions to consider when apartment hunting.
1. What’s Your Budget?
When calculating your budget, there’s more to consider than the rent price.
Are the utilities included? What other bills will you have each month? Are you required to have renter’s insurance? Do you need to pay for parking?
Also, remember that if it’s a rental, you’ll probably need to pay a hefty security deposit along with that first month’s rent. If you’ve decided to buy the place, then you need to know the housing rules like painting your door or decorating. Is there a homeowner’s association involved with the apartment complex?
2. Where’s Your Ideal Location?
The location of an apartment is — at times — more important than the layout. What is the neighborhood like? You should visit the area during the day and night to accurately judge noise and traffic levels. Research online to look up crime statistics for the neighborhood.
You should also consider what stores are nearby. Will you have to drive far to get to the nearest grocery, gas station or hair salon? Apartment hunt locations that are close to your favorite parts of town.
3. How Long Is the Commute?
Outside of the shops nearby, you should also consider commute times to your work or school. The average American commute time is 26.9 minutes — and increases by a few seconds every year. Depending on the location of the apartment, you may experience heavy traffic during your commute. On the other hand, maybe your work will be walking distance. Remember to prioritize your desires. Can you live with a longer commute if the area is everything you’ve hoped for?
4. What Are the Amenities?
Amenities can make a rental property shine. What amenities are the most important to you?
If you enjoy working out, you may want a gym or pool included. If your living by yourself, you may want to have security measures in place. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 62% of apartment households are made up of single men and women or single parents. Is there a doorman or added security features?
Depending on the floor the apartment is on, you may want to enquire about an elevator. These amenities — or lack thereof — can make or break the decision for you.
5. What Size Do You Need?
Ultimately, when apartment hunting, you need to be realistic about how much space you’ll use. Are you looking for a studio or something bigger? Depending on the number of people in your household, you should evaluate whether everyone will have their own room. How does the size stack up to your requirements?
If it’s perfect in every category but size, will there be a way for you to work around the difference? If size is the most important factor, use filters when searching online to be sure you only view apartments that fit your criteria.
6. Is the Landlord Helpful?
Determine whether you will be working with the landlord, a property manager or the rental agency. If possible, meet your point of contact so that you can judge their attitude. An uncooperative landlord can complicate getting problems fixed at the accommodation.
It’s also useful to find out how the relationship will operate. If a repair is needed, will maintenance be available 24/7?
You can ask any questions about the contract before the day of signing. It’d good to know in advance where they stand on breaking the lease agreement or subletting should a situation arise.
7. What Are Your Responsibilities and Rights?
Your rights and responsibilities as a tenant go hand in hand with meeting the landlord and taking a peek at the contract. What are their expectations concerning guests? Do you need a co-signer for the apartment? What about pets — are your furry friends welcome at the apartment?
Getting down to the nitty-gritty will help you avoid future disappointment.
Prioritization Leads to Satisfaction
Remember to evaluate these seven questions while apartment hunting. Once you’ve thought about these matters, you’ll be much closer to finding the ideal space.
If possible, always go to see the apartment in person before signing the lease agreement. Those pretty pictures listed online do not always give an accurate representation of reality.