With so much to think about as you plan your apartment search, there are a myriad of details that can be overlooked. It may help to sit down and answer a few questions or to make a list of things to remember during your search.
1. What Kind of Features Will You Need?
Jot down a list of features that are essential to you in your apartment search. Air conditioning will be crucial if you live in a warm climate, unless you can settle for a good fan. Other things like a garage, washer and dryer hookups, a garbage disposal and off-street parking may also be at the top of your list. Such things are sometimes easy to forget when you’re still looking, but can make a big difference in how much you’re able to enjoy your apartment once you’re there.
2. Do You Feel Comfortable with Your Landlord?
The last thing you want is an intolerable landlord. Don’t be quick to brush off early red flags; after all, this will be the time when your landlord is on his or her best behavior. Ask specific questions about your lease and about the apartment. If your landlord evades your questions, is sketchy on the specifics or is bad-tempered, chances are such things will only get worse once you move in.
3. Can You Live with Your Neighbors?
Get to know your neighbors as much as possible before moving in. Are they partiers? Do they have young children? Do they have an annoying pet? If so, can you live with these things? Talking to potential neighbors can give you valuable information about the area you’ll be living in. Also, in cases of emergency, your neighbors may be your best choice for getting help fast; forming a friendly relationship early on is never a bad idea.
4. How Much Is Your Security Deposit and How Much Will You Get Back?
Nearly all landlords expect some kind of deposit when you move in, although the amounts can vary. Check to make sure the figure is stated specifically in your lease and that there are provisions for how much you’ll get back when you move out. Many landlords deduct for carpet cleaning. Others will charge for such things as painting and filling in nail holes. Whatever the provisions are, you’ll want to know about them up front to avoid unpleasant surprises at move time.
5. Will Your Furniture Fit in Your New Apartment?
It can be difficult to estimate how much furniture will fit in certain spaces. Consider carrying a tape measure and a list of your furniture measurements with you when you look at apartments. Don’t forget to take such things as stairs, doorways and ceiling heights into consideration when making your measurements.
6. What Utilities or Other Expenses Will You Need to Pay?
Besides heat and lights, you may be responsible to pay city utilities such as water and sewage, as well as fees for parking, maintenance or other related fees. Such fees can be the difference between an affordable apartment and one that will have you scrimping by each month. Know and plan for such expenses so that you don’t end up financially strapped by your new home.