Are you in a situation where you are just starting out or can’t afford to buy a house just yet? The average person starts out apartment living so you are not alone. Here are some tips to help you along your journey while living in an apartment.
Finding a Good Place to call Home
Sometimes it is difficult to find an apartment that will suffice monetarily, space wise, and location wise. Often it is a tall order. But don’t dismay. Just get your detective skills out and get to work. Use the hand Apartment Living Checklist below.
- Check out the internet by searching on Apartments in your area. First you will most likely see ads being run by the bigger apartments near you. Then there will be a list of them with a map of where they are all located. This view will most likely show stars rating them. I would start with this view. They are going to be in the area you want and you can easily get to their websites and read the reviews.
- Reviews are important. You get to read the good, the bad and the ugly. Keep in mind that a lot of people will most likely post the bad and not so much the good. Read what they are saying and if there are more than one post with the same complaint. You will quickly see if this is a place you want to do business with.
- Now comes the questions. Does it have what you are looking for. The best advice I can give you is Before you start looking make a list of all your wants and needs. I say to do this before so you know exactly what you are looking for and not making concessions without a plan in place.
- Initially treat this as a business transaction. You are going to need to talk business with the owner or management company. This is the honeymoon stage. Just like any new venture, everyone starts out with the best of intentions in wanting a smooth relationship ahead. The more you know now, just like in any relationship, the better you will be later if something goes south. Use the second page of the checklist to ensure you are asking the right questions AND ALWAYS read every bit of the lease BEFORE signing.
- The walk through. Before you move in the landlord will either go with you or give you a checklist to notate any repairs or flaws in the apartment. Be sure to use the checklist to go through the apartment with a fine tooth comb. This will be your one and only chance to back up any claim that the issues that needed fixing prior to you moving out were not your doing if they are not addressed before you move in. Take pictures and submit them with your form. I have had to do this before and saved me from not getting my security deposit back.
Other things you can do to ensure a good fit:
- Drive by different times and different days to see what kind of activities are going on. Is there a lot of noise? Is there a lot of traffic? Is the area lit properly?
- Talk to the neighbors. Tell them you are thinking of moving in and ask questions. What they like, what they don’t like. How long have they been there.
- Call the Chamber of Commerce. Ask about the neighborhood. Ask about the crime rate in the area.
- Map it out. Where is the nearest schools, police department, shopping malls, grocery stores?
- Do the common areas look to be kept up and in good order? If they aren’t chances are they are not going to fix things for you either.
The Bright Side
Apartment living has its pros! Once you find a good fit there are things you can be happy about. Such as:
- You have a set rent and can budget appropriately. Homeowners often experience unexpected expenses and often large ones.
- You don’t have to have experience with maintenance. Someone takes care of that for you.
- You have some conveniences you may not have as a homeowner such as a pool, weight room, common areas. Some apartments have social calendars and events as well.
- You can live closer to amenities. Most apartments are located within walking distance of many hot spots for entertainment, shopping and eating.
- You can share expenses with a roommate with a roommate agreement. Ok Big Bang Theory just came to mind LOL.
- With the landlord’s approval you may be able to do small upgrades that will make you feel right at home. Things such as putting in a new shower head, adding blinds, painting, etc. Just be sure to get approval first.
- Get a renter’s insurance policy. This will cover you in case of any covered mishap.
In conclusion. Apartment living is not a bad choice. Just be wise about where you choose to live and make good business decisions up front.
Have you ever lived in an apartment? What was your experience like? Drop a comment and let me know!