(Closed) Seeking Advice for Apartment Hunting

posted 6 years ago in Home
Post # 3
Member
8041 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Cappugcino:  I’ve only lived in one apartment in my life (still in it), and one thing I wish I had done is think a bit more about location. It is a good location and within walking distance of my work and lots of amenities, but it’s also at the bottom of a pretty steep hill (think San Francisco lol). I didn’t think it would be such a big deal, but it is. I tend to go out less and drive more when I do, for one thing! Anything to avoid walking up that damn hill.

If you notice something that annoys you on your first visit, it’s guaranteed to tick you off to monumental proportions within a few years.

I’d also suggest doing a lot of searching for reviews of management companies. In my city there are a few big ones, and I’ve heard pretty bad things about some of them, so I automatically stayed away.

Make sure to ask the obvious things.. like is water/heat/electricity included in the price, does rent go up each year, what kind of lease terms are there (like 12 months, 6 months, month-to-month etc.), are pets/kids allowed, etc.

I wouldn’t move into a place that didn’t at least have laundry on the same floor. Even on the same floor is a pain in the butt… I can’t imagine having to take my stuff to the basement or whereever like some buildings do.

In the end, it’s kinda hard to predict how your renting experience will be. Mine started off really well and I liked management, but management changed and it got a bit worse. Nothing too major, but definitely had some not so fun discussions.

I’d also make sure to ask what the average turnaround time is on having something fixed.

It also helps if management (like the landlord/building manager) actually lives in the building… then they have more invested.

Other than that, just make sure it’s in a neighborhood you like, around public transit routes (or easy to walk or drive), etc. Having visitor parking and parking stalls for you is also something to consider… my building has barely any visitor stalls and it’s a huge pain in the ass when someone wants to visit me… they usually end up parking a few blocks away and walking so I don’t get too many visitors lol.

Post # 4
Member
4439 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

I’d plan for an hour or more at each apartment – that may be more time than the landlord plans on showing you around but then you can walk around the area and get a feel for things.

Definitely ask how utilities are handled, how is the move out handled, can you paint?

And as far as advice make sure you know what the going rental rate is in that area!

Post # 7
Member
1130 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I agree with all of the above considerations. Also little things like how new are the appliances (if that matters to you), noise between apartments, how packages are handled. Read reviews online and research the neighborhoods for safety, proximity to grocery stores and any other locations you need to be close to. Think about your day to day life now, and what you need out of your new place to accommodate that life.

We just looked at apartments all over the DC area and even signed a lease before we ultimately decided just to move back to CA. Now, we’re doing the same thing all over again for the LA area. So, I’m here for advice if you want ot PM me since I am in the thick of this as well.

Post # 8
Member
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@Cappugcino:  Make sure to visit the apartment complex a few times at different times of the day.  We found one we really liked but at night there was absolutely no parking and people would park on curbs and partially block the streets.  Another we liked was pretty during the day but really seedy characters came out after dark which made us concerned for our safety (a quick search of local crime reports confirmed that the complex had a lot of criminal activity including drug deals and burglaries.)

No apartment (or house for that matter) will be perfect so before you go out made a list of dealbreakers; things you absolutely must have, things you would like to have, and things that the apartment absolutely cannot have.  Ask to see the actual apartment you would be renting (many complexes will not do this); if they cannot, ask them to see a vacant apartment instead of the pretty staged one they show everyone.  You might be surprised by how run-down the actual apartment is over the staged one.  I got burned on this once because the staged apartment had all new appliances and nice cabinets while the actual apartment I rented had 20+ year old appliances and the finish on the cabinets was peeling off from being bleached by cleaning companies in between renters.

Finally, make sure it’s close to at least one of your jobs or in the middle of both.  For me, stess from driving in traffic is a huge factor so we recently signed a lease to move closer to my office so I can avoid the traffic.

Post # 9
Member
3552 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

If you know where you will be working try to find an easy commute. I knew that I would most likely be at the local university either working or going to grad school (didn’t know when I was apartment hunting) so i found a place 2 miles from campus that isn’t in a student neighborhood, and now I walk to to work. One thing I really looked at was major buslines near the apartment because at the time I didn’t have a car. We’re just off a fairly major bus route which means we can easily get to either downtown (Twin cities), the airport, or the mall of america with out a car. Which is nice because parking can be difficult and expensive in those places.

If you live in the north, you definitely want heat to be included. I personally would also look at the apartment smoking policy (medical condition aggravated by smoke), the pet policy, and if it costs money for parking. Even if you don’t want a pet, if your apartment allows dogs you could have neighbor’s dogs barking at all hours. You’d also be suprised at how much extra parking can be. At my last apartment with 86 units there was room for about 30 cars in the parking lot on a good day (a bad day was one of the several months our parking lot was ripped up by the city to put in new water mains, then we had about 10 spots) if you wanted a garantee that you’d have somewhere to put your car you had to pay for parking in the garage.

Post # 10
Member
3357 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@Cappugcino:  I say an hour each. Darling Husband and I saw 7 apartments in a row in one day, each were given an hour, and we still had plenty of time to get to the next appointment (but that was because they were relatively in the same area).

I’m very happy with the apartment we chose.

Most PPs have covered everything, but don’t forget to ask about company discounts and stuff. Some apartments have affiliated companies that they give discounts for to employees.

Post # 11
Member
169 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Ask of you can hang pictures! Lol I was charged $2 a hole at one place I lived! Lol and if you find a place you like drive by it at different times of the day/night… During the day most places look like a good area. But the freaks come out a night and you’ll learn if your neighbor has a garage band or sits in the driveway after work drinking! Or if it’s a family neighborhood with kids yelling and stuff. 

Post # 12
Member
29 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@Cappugcino:  I used to work in property management and I second all of the above suggestions! Especially beachbrides suggestion to visit at different times of day and to ask to see a vacant apartment! Also, even if they can’t show you the exact apartment you will be living in, ask to see where it’s located, that way you can see what’s  around your actual home (and maybe even get a good idea of who your neighbors would be. 

After your official tour, it’s always a good idea to just take a couple minutes and look around by yourself, they have a specific route that they take people on, so it will be sure to look nice. A better indication of the place is to look everywhere else. 

You sound super prepared and organized, so I’m sure you’ll find the best place for you. Good luck!

 

Post # 14
Member
451 posts
Helper bee

@Cappugcino:  In addition to what the other bees have said, one thing I wanted to mention was to think about the small things you want, even if they may seem like they would come standard.  For example, I toured an apartment once that I liked, and when I moved in I realized there were so few outlets and only overhead lights in the kitchen and bathroom!  Sure, this can be easy to fix with floor lamps and extension cords, but it is something to think about.  

Oh, and the bedroom didn’t have cable… which was kind of weird.  (Maybe I’m spoiled!) but we had to get a super long cable cord and line it around the edge of the floor and over a door frame to get it into our bedroom.

I was just used to other apartments before that one always having overhead lights, plenty of outlets, and one cable jack per living room/bedroom.  It hadn’t occured to me that they wouldn’t be there.

Post # 16
Member
1328 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

I’ve lived in 4 apartments in the last 5 years, and here are the things I should have checked:

– how many outlets are in each room, if they are 2 or 3 prong, and if they work.

– check how fast the water gets hot and what water pressure is like in all sinks/showers

– is enough counter and cabinet space in bathrooms and kitchens.

– Do all the windows open or are they painted shut?

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