Apartment Renting Advice: What To Look For

Apartment renting advice, what to consider. Your search can be made easier by following some advice about neighborhoods, landlords, safety, etc. Apartment hunting with a checklist can help you find a your next home.

Renting an apartment can be stressful, especially if time and money are limited. It's not uncommon for people to leap before they look just to relieve the pressure of apartment hunting. Selecting a place to live is important. If you're unhappy with your home, it can have a significant negative impact on your life.

So, once you've determined the place is in your price range, take a pad and pen to make notes as you consider the following:

What's the neighborhood like? If you're new to the area, ask about the nearest grocery store, bank, video store, etc. Walk around to see what kind of activity is in the area. Ask about transportation routes and how safe the neighborhood is.

Who are the neighbors? You're not asking the landlord to judge, you're asking for facts. Do they have kids? Pets? Are they college students or elderly couples? This will help you decide if you'll enjoy living there. This isn't as much of a concern if you're living in a mid or high rise. However, if you are renting an apartment in house, it may set off your allergies if the people below you have a dog.

How is the place heated and cooled? This is of particular concern if you are responsible for paying the utilities. Do you have control over heating and/or air conditioning levels? Also be sure to find out average monthly costs of water and hydro.

Are there enough windows and which direction(s) do they face? Light and temperature can dramatically affect how much you enjoy your home. If you find lack of light depressing, you may want to avoid basements or apartments with tiny windows. If there is a long wall facing north and you're in a colder climate, find out how well it is insulated to protect yourself from northern winds.

How much closet space is there? You may not be a clotheshorse, but you still need a place to hang clothes and coats, put away shoes, linen and even the vacuum cleaner. Apartments in older houses tend to have few closets. Look to see how the current tenant (if there is one) manages.

How old is the wiring? Count how many outlets there are and if they have a grounding socket. Few outlets and/or two-pronged outlets often indicate older wiring, which can be a safety concern.

How present is the landlord? You want your landlord to be available when you need assistance, but it can be intrusive and uncomfortable to have him or her around all the time or coming by unannounced.

What are the policies and laws regarding pets? If a pet is already part of your family, make sure it is legal and acceptable to have pets. Otherwise, you may have to face a heartbreaking decision.

How big are the rooms? You can use a tape measure or pace off to get a good idea of the room dimensions. Also notice how much and what size of furniture the current tenants have. For example, if you have a queen-size bed, will it fit in the bedroom? Also note stairwells, hallways and doors. Maybe your couch will fit in the living room, but will you be able to get it in?

Is there parking? If you have a car you'll want to know if parking is included in the rent, where it is and how safe it is.

Check for insects and rodents. Look in corners, behind furniture and along baseboards for any evidence of critters or repellent. If there are current tenants, they may be forthcoming with such information. And, if possible, visit the apartment at night and turn lights on in the bathroom and kitchen to look for any activity.

If the place is in need of repair or paint, find out what will be done before you move in. If the plaster is falling down and you have to repair it, you may find living there more expensive and annoying than you bargained for.

The key to successful apartment hunting is keeping your wits about you. Don't just look at the surface of things and make assumptions. Review the notes you made as you viewed the apartment. Jot down your impressions as well. This will be your home. It is worth taking the time to plan ahead, ask questions and weigh pros and cons before signing on the dotted line.

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