Triple Check Your Budget
Finding an apartment within your price range is only half the battle, especially if you’re on a tight budget. But keep in mind that rent isn’t the only expense that goes along with renting. Can you also afford utilities and food? Don’t forget that some bills will skyrocket when the weather is extremely hot or cold. Will you be able to gas up your car when necessary? How much will be left over to save for a rainy day? Be sure to take into account all expenses. Rent is just the beginning.
Read the Doggone Lease
A lease is a long, confusing document with tons of jargon that you may not fully understand. It may look intimidating, but it’s really in the best interest of both you and the landlord. A lease ensures that everyone knows what kind of agreement they’re entering into, and the terms by which that agreement might be jeopardized. Are you allowed to paint? How much notice do you need to give before moving out? How much will it cost to break the lease? Will the lease renew automatically? Double check that the lease matches what’s previously been agreed upon and discussed. If you’re unsure about anything at all, ask before signing.
Can Anyone Hear You?
Have you checked the apartment’s cell phone reception? Despite a cool space in a perfect neighborhood, you’ll hate your decision if you find out–after signing the lease–that your new apartment’s cell phone reception is non-existent. Call a friend during your initial visit. Can you hold a conversation without service interruption? Also ask if the apartment you’re viewing is the exact unit you’ll be moving into. Cell phone reception can differ in various parts of the same building.
Do the Features and Amenities Work?
Imagine this: It’s your first night in your new apartment. Boxes are everywhere and you are exhausted, so into the shower you go. To your surprise, the water barely trickles out of the shower head. How frustrating! You can easily avoid problems like this by checking features like water pressure prior to moving in. By doing your homework, such issues can be fixed before you move in.
Where’s the Washroom?
If your desired unit doesn’t have its own washer and dryer hook up and you don’t plan on bringing your own appliances, make sure you know where this facility is located. Is it on your floor? Is it even in the same building? You might not want to take a 10 minute hike just to get there, which means you may need to start looking at another place.
Is the Commute Doable?
One of the first things you do when you pinpoint a great apartment is find out how far it is from your workplace. But don’t be fooled when the map shows a quick, easy route. In a major city–especially if you work within the city’s limits–that commute time could easily double or even triple when you factor in rush hour traffic.
Think Beyond Your Four Walls
The inside of your potential apartment is not the only thing you should pay attention to during your search. What’s going on outside? Is the building located right next to noisy railroad tracks or a playground? Don’t let a hip neighborhood or cheaper than average rent be your only deciding factors. Take a good look outside as well. Some people even go as far as checking with neighbors for their honest, unfiltered opinions. Another idea is to drive through the neighborhood at night to see what’s going on and who’s hanging around.
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