Apartment hunting can be incredibly stressful to some or a fun adventure for others. Regardless of which side you fall on, it is important that you ask the right questions and gather all the necessary information before signing your name on a lease.
There are obvious factors to consider, such as rental rate, location, and interior quality. But before you get too excited about a great financial deal or the stylized pictures of an online listing, here are a few lesser-known essentials to consider.
There are some amenities you can see by looking at photos or touring an apartment. A dishwasher, an in-unit washing machine, or a luxurious jetted bathtub are some easy-to-spot amenities that can set an apartment apart from other listings. But it’s important to inquire about less visible amenities to see if the value is really worth the money.
Are you a biker? Then adequate bike storage is a must! Check to see if there is bicycle storage and if the room is safely secured. Ask about other amenities, too, as many apartment complexes have small gyms, rooftop access, or lounge chairs to use in the courtyard.
It may be tricky to get a true sense of what type of landlord owns and operates a building, but it is an important element to consider when apartment shopping. You want to ensure that the landlord is responsive to tenants in emergencies or when maintenance is needed in your space. The accessibility of a landlord can make or break a living experience.
If a large management company owns the building, you can look up reviews online to get an idea of the tenant’s experience. If it is a smaller operation, try to politely chat with other folks who live in the building and ask their perspective.
One of the major financial factors that often gets neglected before signing a lease is the cost of utilities. Certain utilities like water, trash pick-up, or heat may be included in the rent with some apartments. But in others, you may be responsible for all of them! These bills can add up quickly if you aren’t factoring them into living costs.
Additionally, apartments with central air conditioning can guzzle energy and rack up your electricity bill. Heat during cold winter months can do the same to your gas payments. Ask about the average cost of utilities before moving in.
Not all buildings are pet-friendly, and many more only allow certain types of animals. For some complexes, there is an additional monthly fee to have a pet. If you have one already or think you may want to adopt a pet down the line, this should be one of the fundamental considerations in your search.
If a building doesn’t allow pets, look into getting an emotional support animal letter and do your research to ensure you can keep your furry friend at your side. It would be an immense shame to have to re-home a beloved pet just because you weren’t fully aware of the pet policy.
How thick are the walls? Is the unit sandwiched between other apartments or close to an elevator? When you take a tour, try to listen closely and see what outside noise you can hear seeping into the apartment. If you are sensitive to sound, a constant drone of voices or footsteps could negatively affect the atmosphere of a space that should feel relaxing and comfortable.
With these essential considerations at the forefront of your mind, you can rest assured that your next apartment will tick all the boxes. Happy hunting!