It’s a new year! Welcome to 2016! Maybe your new years resolution wasn’t one of the old clichés of dieting or exercising and maybe you aren’t even ready to start saving for a down payment for your first home yet; maybe your new years resolution was to simply find you own place – free of your parents, annoying neighbors or roommates – one that’s completely yours, at least for the time period that you sign the lease. You did the research of the neighborhood and you saved the right amount of money for you to be comfortable living on your own, but did you do your research when you did the walkthrough of the apartment or rental you’re looking at? Avoid committing to the wrong apartment or rental by looking out for these top problems that could make your dream place a nightmare:
- Make An Appliance Checklist
While some rentals or apartments might already have this for you, you might want to make one of your own. While of course you should check all of the big appliances like your dishwasher, refrigerator, stove, etc. to make sure all of the knobs and properties of the items work correctly, but also check these sometimes overlooked things as well including:
- Drawers and cabinets
- Heating and Cooling
- Electrical sockets
You’ll want to make sure that all of these things work properly so that you don’t get charged for fixing them when your lease is up! It might also be a good idea while you’re checking these things to ask about the maintenance policy – do they have a maintenance staff on call twenty-four hours a day, is the maintenance staff your landlord? All of these are good things to consider because even if these items are working properly now, they might not always.
According to realtor.com your prospective rental or apartment might seem very quiet because they usually know the best times to show it (for example when most of the other tenants are out or at work). While there’s always a chance that the person showing you could be dishonest, you can always ask them how the noise level is with the neighbors. Or if you really don’t trust the person showing you, you can always ask some neighbors if you happen to see any on your way out – they’re probably more likely to be honest with you.
Speaking of your neighbors, it might be a good idea to spy on them a bit. Of course we don’t suggest you take this to the extreme by stalking them or peeping through their windows, but if they’re around introduce yourself and ask some questions that maybe the landlord or person showing you wasn’t able to answer. If they’re not around simply peak below/above your rental unit or investigate the other halls of your apartment complex. Beware of how neat or dirty their entryway is because this is a good indicator of any smells or rodents that could be scurrying about because of your messy neighbors.
- Stop By At Night
Things almost always look differently at night. It might be wise to do a drive-by after work and/or on the weekends to see how different the location is. If there’s not a good amount of lighting leading up the walkway or if (the opposite) there’s too much lighting that highlights your bedroom, this might be cause for concern. Driving by at night could also tell you how safe the area is. If you feel fine when you’re driving by at night then that’s a good sign, but if you feel uneasy it’s always wise to trust your gut!
- Pest Patrol
This tip can be tricky because bugs and rodents are usually fast and excellent and hiding. Realtor.com suggests checking behind appliances, countertops, and corners for droppings that might indicate cockroaches and other bigger bugs. Smaller bugs and insects like fleas and bed bugs might be harder but if there is currently a tenant you could always do a quick check between the mattresses and furniture. And of course if you discover bites of any kind – run!
- Research The Location
Finally we already stressed this once, but we can’t stress it enough – research the location! Stop by at night, and maybe even during rush hour to see how the traffic is to and from it. While being near amenities like your favorite grocery store or bar might seem ideal, consider the noises that may come from those locations at inconvenient hours and the traffic that comes along with those favorite spots.
While we’d love you to find your new dream home in 2016, we understand if you might not be ready. We do also offer a great number of rentals in various sizes, price ranges and locations if your new years resolution is to finally have your own place. Just remember the tips from this blog if you are planning on moving to your own rental or apartment. Being on your own is great, but with it comes a great deal of new responsibilities and you don’t want to be stuck with some that aren’t your fault or in a nightmare place for the full term of your lease!
Happy Rental/Apartment Hunting!
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Until Next Time,