Tips For Finding Your Perfect Apartment
I am in the process of moving into a new apartment, this will also be the 31st time that I have moved. I won't say that I am an expert but I can say that I have a lot of great experience when it comes to hunting for new apartments, purchasing homes and moving to a new city. This post kicks off a series of apartment hunting, home buying, and furnishing related articles!
What you should be asking
- What utilities are included in the rent? What type of heating and cooling is used?
- Do you offer any amenities and is there a fee to use them?
- Do you use any artificial scents in your buildings or office area? (for me this was a deal breaker)
- Is there a washer and dryer in the apartment?
- Which cable and internet provider am I required to use?
- Does your building allow pets? Is there a pet fee or breed restriction? (if they don't then legally you can still have your service animals)
- How is the sound in the apartments? Can you hear your neighbors and what rights do I have? (by law you are required to have peace and quiet in your own home)
- Can I choose which building I want to live in? Does each building or floor have different costs for the same sized apartment?
- Do I have to pay for parking and how many spaces am I given? Is there assigned parking spaces or options for guests?
- Do you have apartments or a suite for out of town guests to rent?
- Are the dishwasher, refrigerator, and oven updated and energy efficient?
- Do you offer additional storage space or a garage for rent?
- Will there be a rent increase, and how many times will it increase over the course of 5 years?
- Do you offer security on the apartment grounds or allow tenants to install security systems?
- Are tenants allowed to paint walls, install shelves or use temporary hooks? Is there a fee associated with painting the apartment?
Choose where you want to live
Personally, I love living in the city but I also miss having a yard and I crave the quiet so we have decided to have the best of both worlds. We are living outside of the city but close enough that we can still see the Boston skyline! Did I mention that our apartment complex allows pets and we have green space? It's a dream. Before we decided to move to this perfectly located apartment we had to consider a few things to make sure that it worked with our lifestyle.
- Are there any parks in the area and how far are they? Can I walk to them, ride a bike or do I need to drive?
- What are the crime statistics for the area? (as uncomfortable as it may be look up the pedophiles, murderers, and criminals in your perspective and surrounding towns)
- How far will your commute be? Will you have to take several modes of transportation?
- If you need to take the bus or the train how far are they from your home? How much will they cost extra each month?
- Does your complex offer a Zip Car and is it cost effective?
- How close is your favorite grocery store, gas station, coffee shop or library?
How to search for an apartment
The hardest part when looking for an apartment should be finding one that suits your lifestyle and it shouldn't be difficult to actually find one. Try looking online at websites such as Apartment Finder, Craigslist, Rent.com or if you're looking for a roommate look at Roommate Finder. We found our apartment online and found it much easier because these sites tell you where the apartment is located, which amenities are offered and how the community compares. If you're shopping for a house you should try to contact your local realtor. Often times they can find you better deals and are able to help you through the paperwork that is required when you're purchasing your first home. Before we began looking at apartments we chose to walk around and drive around various neighborhoods in Boston. This allowed us to see where we could afford to live and where we could actually see ourselves living. I am more strict with what I expect than he is so this really allowed me to picture us in our future life together.
When it comes time to sign your lease, make sure that you read everything that is included and request anything that will make your move easier. For me I am highly allergic to any artificial scents, this includes Febreeze, candles and air freshener. We told the leasing office this information and they made a note in the building file to make sure that the maintenance team doesn't use these products in our building. Even though they can't stop the residents from using them it makes my life easier and my health better now that they have decided to accommodate my allergy.
Searching for an apartment, condo or home doesn't have to be stressful! Can you think of any tricks that you use that helps your moving experience become less stressful?
Look out for my next article in this series! If there is a topic that you'd like me to cover then leave it in the comments below.