Finding the perfect apartment that fits both your lifestyle and budget isn’t going to be easy. Thankfully, we’re here to help. We’ve come up with a list of things to look out for when you go apartment hunting:
First and foremost, can you reasonably afford to live here? Before seriously considering an apartment, you need to seriously consider your budget. Conduct a bit of online research to get a sense for the typical rental rates in the neighborhood. If you’re willing to pay a high price for a certain location, then you’ll need to find other ways to cut back on expenses. Or you may need to find roommates to help cover the costs. Also, keep in mind that if an apartment’s rent is unusually low compared to other rentals in the area, then this may be a big red flag.
Your landlord can make or break your renting experience. If you have a bad landlord – one with a bad ethics or a lack of boundaries – you may end up in your own rental nightmare. To prevent this from happening, try to meet with your landlord or chat with him or her on the phone. If you’re moving into an apartment with roommates already, then make sure to ask them about their overall experience with their landlord.
Don’t trust those pretty pictures you see online. Before you rent an apartment, you should arrange to see the place in-person. Keep in mind that cosmetic issues, such as broken blinds or scratches on the wall, can be fixed – possibly by your landlord. But deeper problems may be an indication that the apartment hasn’t been properly taken care of. As you peruse the apartment, look for health and safety issues, such as bug problems, rodents, leaky faucets, water damage, lead paint, asbestos, dirty air filters, mold, broken heat and air conditioning systems, rust, broken windows, and electrical problems.
The Utility Costs
Don’t forget about utility costs! In addition to the monthly rent, you’ll most likely have to pay for various utilities throughout the time you live there. These utilities include water, gas, air conditioning, sewer, garbage and electricity – among others. Your lease should clearly lay out what utilities you are responsible for covering. Some utilities may be included in the rent. If you have any questions about who pays for what, make sure to double-check with your landlord before signing the lease.
Before moving into an apartment with total strangers, I suggest getting to know them beforehand. Chances are, they’ll want to screen you as well. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be best friends with your roommates, but you do have to respect one another. Make sure that, for the most part, your lifestyles are a good match. If you prefer a 9 p.m. bedtime and they prefer to party late into the night, then your living situation could quickly spiral downhill.