Apartment Rental Hunting: How to Find the Best Place for You

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How many of you have fallen in love with an apartment, moved in, and only later realized that your new abode isn’t quite the answer to all of your rental apartment dreams? Like many other apartment renters, getting swept up in the excitement of living in a new apartment can lead to overlooking some important details. Such as - a month after moving-in, you realize that your upstairs neighbors like to use their hallway as

How many of you have fallen in love with an apartment, moved in, and only later realized that your new abode isn’t quite the answer to all of your rental apartment dreams? Like many other apartment renters, getting swept up in the excitement of living in a new apartment can lead to overlooking some important details. Such as - a month after moving-in, you realize that your upstairs neighbors like to use their hallway as a bowling alley or that the thick plaster walls you so admired also block your cell phone reception.

Thankfully there is a quick and easy check list of things to keep in mind when looking at a new rental apartment. By following these tips, you should be able to find an apartment rental that is the perfect home for you.

Leases

• Are utilities included with the rental apartment?

• Are lease terms flexible? Some larger apartment buildings offer options such as six month, nine month, or 12 month leases.

• Is there a broker’s fee? Fees for rental apartments are common in cities such as New York and Boston.

• Is the rental apartment rent-controlled?

• Is there a security deposit? Move in fees? Many larger apartment buildings limit the days and hours when new residents can move into a rental apartment (to limit disruption to current residents) so ask if there are any limitations.

Amenities

• Parking. Is off-street parking available? How much does it cost? On-street parking is another option, and is often far less expensive than a designated parking space. Just be sure to check with your local motor vehicle authority to confirm if you need to register your car or need to purchase a resident parking sticker.

• Cell phone reception. When you preview a rental apartment, take out your cell phone and walk around the rooms to make sure that your phone gets clear reception. Believe it or not, but in cities where older buildings are the norm, rental apartment cell phone interference is not unheard of.

• Extra storage. Even if closet space is limited in the rental apartment, some buildings offer extra storage space for an additional fee.

• Laundry – on site or in the rental apartment unit? Do the machines look new or worn out? Do they use a card system or quarters?

• Does the building allow pets? If so, are there any extra fees?

• Does the rental apartment have air conditioning? If not, will the landlord provide window units?

• Is there a roof deck or gym on-site?

• Does the kitchen have upgraded appliances such as a dishwasher, garbage disposal, new(er) refrigerator and stove?

• Bring a tape measure so that you can measure rooms and doorways.

Neighborhood

• Is the rental apartment close to grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, drugstores, nightlife, or cafes? This can be especially important in urban neighborhoods where many residents don’t have cars.

• Access to public transportation. If the ad says the rental apartment is “near the subway/Metro/bus” find out exactly how far away it is. If you have time, walk from the rental apartment to the public transportation so that you know how short or long of a walk you would have.

Building

• Who lives in the building? For example, is it full of college students, or vice versa, retired people?

• Responsiveness of landlord. Are work requests resolved in a timely manner?

• Try to visit the rental apartment during the evening, when more of the neighboring residents will likely be home. Can you hear noise spilling out from the other apartments or smell what they cooked for dinner?

• Remember – if the ad says the rental apartment is a “walk-up”, that means there are no elevators. This can become an issue if you have a lot to move and your over-sized Pottery Barn sofa is too wide to fit around the tight turns in a narrow stair well.

By asking these types of questions, you will be sure to find a rental apartment that meets your needs and suits your lifestyle.

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