Think before you lease
Finding your next apartment can be a daunting and stressful task, and it is very important to consider all the angles of a new living situation before signing on for that expensive monthly commitment. Taking a bit of extra time during the process can mean the difference between misery and contentment for the next year or more.
Outside of the typical checklist of things you’re looking for, like the number of bedrooms, price, square footage or fancy amenities, consider these six crucially important things before signing that lease:
- Neighborhood at night – This is the best advice ever given to me when it comes to home hunting. Even if you think you know the area, you may be surprised how the apartment complex and neighborhood may feel after the sun goes down. What seems like a safe and pleasant community by day may transform into a sketchy area at night. There’s no worse feeling than wondering whether or not your car will still be where you parked it the next morning. Try out the walk from your parking spot to your prospective unit. Is there decent lighting? Is it a long walk?
- Air conditioner & sun exposure – Phoenicians can easily survive the winter without a heater, usually a thick blanket can suffice on an average night. But summer without an air conditioner is nearly a criminal offense. Ask the leasing agent about the age of the air conditioner for your specific unit and don’t even be afraid to turn it on during a walk through. Also, be sure to note the sun exposure of your unit. Direct daytime sunlight can be murder on your electric bill for those blistering 7 to 8 months out of the year.
- Crime reports – Your leasing agent should be able to provide you with this information, and if not, that could definitely be a red flag. Visit Phoenix.gov to pull reports detailing crime statistics for your new neighborhood. You may be surprised with what you find.
- Included fees – Fees included within monthly rental fees vary from complex to complex. Arizona apartment complexes frequently charge for trash removal, which may not already be factored in on your monthly budgeting calculations. When negotiating, see if the leasing agent might include your utilities or waive the application fee; it doesn’t hurt to ask! Also don’t forget to ask if the complex requires renters insurance, which can definitely boost your monthly overhead.
- Meet the neighbors – Some apartment construction is notoriously known for meeting just around the minimum sound proofing standard. Loud neighbors can mean sleepless nights and a constant state of annoyance with little recourse on your end. Meeting with those living around your prospective unit can help formulate your opinion; consider if they have yippy dogs, a brand-new baby or what seems like way too many people living there. Don’t forget to check out the tenants below and above as well!
- Get to know the staff – That charismatic leasing agent may be the friendliest person you could ever meet, but you’ll be done interacting with them after your lease paperwork is complete. If possible, try to meet the maintenance staff and the billing department. Just making an effort to introduce yourself will get those relationships off on the right foot.
Ready to look for Phoenix apartments? There’s many great properties available that will make all these potential problems no problem at all.