1. Am I getting a good deal?
It’s a good idea to investigate rates in the apartment’s neighborhood, according to RentHop. If the apartment is more expensive or much cheaper than other housing units in the area, it’s better to find out why before moving in. Also look at whether rates have gone up or down in the neighborhood, and if so how quickly.
If you really like the neighborhood and rents have been getting more expensive, you might want to consider a lease longer than one year. You might have to agree to a rent increase, but you can at least have the certainty of being in the neighborhood you enjoy during the term of the lease.
Also, check if the lease and floor plan allow for the conversion of the apartment to add an additional bedroom. If you can create a new bedroom space with a pressurized wall, you might be able to find a roommate to lower the cost of your rent. Next
2. Am I paying for a bunch of amenities? Will I really use them?
Apartments can offer a wide array of amenities. More expensive apartment buildings can offer amenities like fitness facilities and pools. Other apartments might offer appliances such as washers/dryers and dishwashers in the unit. Landlords often charge more for these amenities, so RentHop encourages potential tenants to consider carefully whether or not they will make use of them. RentHop also has a pretty useful list of amenities you should and shouldn’t pay for. Next
3. How’s the water pressure?
Be sure to test the apartment’s water system, says RentHop. Check the water pressure and find out how long it takes for the water to get hot. Confirm the plumbing works and that there isn’t a problem with clogged drains. If the apartment comes with a garbage disposal, make sure it works properly. Next
4. How’s the heat and air conditioning?
Make sure both the heat and the air conditioning work. If the unit doesn’t have central air, find out if the apartment has in-unit A/C and sufficient heat. If not, make sure the windows are strong enough to support a window-mounted air conditioner.
RentHop also recommends checking the ventilation in the kitchen, especially if you cook a lot.
Also, if you are responsible for paying the energy bills, ask about how much the previous tenants had to pay. Make sure the heat and A/C are both effective and efficient. Next
5. How many bathrooms are there and how do I access them?
Does the apartment only have one bathroom? If so, where is it located? If the bathroom is only accessible via the bedroom, then remember your guests will need to go through your bedroom to use it. Next
6. Who are my neighbors?
It’s a good idea to get a sense of the people with whom you will be sharing a building. Find out how long the people have been living there or if there has been significant turnover. It’s also a good idea to find out how thick the walls are, and whether you will be able to hear your neighbors above, below, or around you.
7. How safe is it?
Take the time do a security check, advises RentHop. How secure does the front door feel to you? Is there a deadbolt? If the apartment is on the first floor, how confident are you that intruders won’t come in through the windows. These questions are important not just for your peace of mind, but also if you’re getting renter’s insurance. (RentHop says renter’s insurance is definitely worth considering.)
Also, check out crime statistics in the neighborhood. The FBI website can be very useful for this. Do you get the sense that the area is well-lit? Are there people around? Walk around the neighborhood, and if possible, see what if feels like at night. Next
8. How do I get to work? Is there parking, or is mass transit nearby?
Will you need a car to go places? This “greatly” adds to the cost of living, says RentHop. In addition to rent, you’ll also have to pay for gas, fuel, insurance, and maintenance. But bear in mind, you might pay more in rent for the convenience of being able to walk everywhere. Next
9. Will I get good cellphone reception/WiFi connectivity?
How many bars do you get in the apartment? Know where the dead spots are in the apartment before you sign a lease. Consider going old-school and getting a landline if the entire apartment has bad reception.
Also, determine the thickness of the walls and determine whether you can get wireless connectivity in the apartment with one router. If not, you might need to get additional equipment which can be both frustrating and expensive. Back to the beginning
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