When I first decided to move out, I had no idea what kind of chaos laid ahead. It took me several months to find a place, get settled in, and then immediately regret my decision. I didn’t do my research of what to look for and what to lookout for. I wish I had compiled a list of needs that apartment should have to fit my standard. Long story short, it wasn’t the best of times, but what I learned from it saved me for the years coming up. I don’t want you to commit the same mistakes I made. So I decided to come up with this post, to help you on your apartment hunting. Below are some tips and advice to help you as you try to find that perfect home!
List of requirements/needs: When hunting for apartments, you must make sure to have a list of needs to be checked off before you decide on a place to live. This list includes location, property type, square footage, amenities, and many more things that you feel is necessary before making the final decision. We start off with our checklist because we want to make sure that the place we are choosing to live is one that will keep us happy and satisfied. By compiling a list of needs that the apartment should have, you can check off the apartment if it measures up to your expectations, or move to another if it does not. Once you have complied the list of requirements, we can start our hunt by searching for the appropriate location.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: I can’t stress to you how important this is. A perfect location for your apartment would be close to your job, close to all your daily needs, and close enough to any major highway so that if you needed to visit or go places, you can hop on and get there efficiently. When hunting for an apartment, this is probably on top of the list for requirements. Nobody wants to commute 30 minutes a day to go to work and 30 minutes back. That takes an hour out of your day, not to even mention the traffic or trying to go other places. Think about where you work, and how long it would it take you to get there from the apartment community you are thinking of. If it is a 10 minute drive, then the place is more suitable compared to a 30 minute drive. We also have to assess the walkability of the location, Walkablility is a measure of how friendly an area is to walking. It helps us see if an area is easily walkable to accomplish daily errands, such as going to the grocery, shopping, or eating at a restaurant. If you live in area that has a Walkscore of 80, then that means that the area is fairly walkable to reach your daily needs. If the Walkscore is lower, then you might need transit or your own vehicle to reach certain places. If you want to check to see if the location you’re going to live at is walkable or what kind of score it has, visit walkscore.com to see the ranking. Just type in the address and see the score. Don’t forget to check out your neighborhood as well, Walkscore will give you a crime grade that will tell you if the crime rate is above average or below average depending on the region. This tool will help you feel safer about the place you live and also give you assurance of your neighborhood. Make sure to look for school districts and other places that might come up if you have children.
Uncover hidden costs: Normally when you finalize your decision on the place you want to live, there are some fee’s that you may have overlooked. Surely a 50 page contract can get boring really quickly, but that document contains more than boring words. It includes fees and expenses you didn’t think you have to pay for. Most of the time it may be a water usage fee, one that’s around 25$ a month or a garbage disposal fee that’s around the same price. Let’s not forget how much it’s going to be for cable or internet. The monthly fee you may be aware of, but there is a deposit or set-up fee normally. If you have a pet, look for a pet deposit fee and a monthly pet fee for the cleaning they do. These fees add up together on top of what you’re already paying. Be sure to read the fine print, and make sure you clarify all your expenses with them.
Getting down and dirty: When you finally see the apartment in person, examine everything and make sure it is the way you want it. Check the cupboards, under the sinks, look for everything and anything. You want to make sure there is no signs of mold or unwanted little buggers. Run all the water from the sinks to the shower, check each light, even the patio or balcony. There is nothing worse, than moving into a new place, and having to deal with broken pipes, moldy cupboards, or on-going maintenance. Make sure to ask about the history and see what renovations have been done since.
Making sure everything fits: When people move into a new place, they don’t really think about how they are going to bring in their furniture. For example, the place might look really roomy, but once you bring in the luggage, then you might not have as much room as you thought. A good way to go around this is to take measurements of the place if they don’t have any. See if that big couch will fit through the door or if that old piano can fit just fine without having to sell it. Bring a tape measure or better yet ask for measurements if they have any floor plans.
Finalize and be ready: Once you go through your checklist, find the right location, and make sure all the other necessities are met, then you can sign the dotted line. Have all your documents ready, bring in all the necessary paperwork, and make sure you get everything in writing. Come prepared to fill out the application and background check, make sure you are ready to put down a deposit and signing that lease. When there are changes to be made or things that need to be adjusted before you move in, this is the time to reiterate those conversations and have them down on paper. In addition, if you can get access to your credit report, bring a copy so that it could levitate the waiting time and put you head of the competition.
Comment below and let us know about your apartment hunting experience!