When apartment hunting, many of us forget about the day-to-day realities of living in a new apartment complex. Finding the right place is not all about location and large closets; there are plenty of other factors you should consider before you sign your name on that dotted line. Be sure to ask your leasing agent the right questions before you make that big decision. Also, remember that the leasing agent likely doesn’t actually live in your complex and may not have the best insight on what it’s actually like to live there. If you can, take your own tour of the complex and see if you can speak with actual tenants to ask them the same questions.
Remember to always ask:
- What exactly is included in the monthly rent?
Don’t assume that rent covers trash fees or your water bill just because your last place did. Every apartment complex has different policies. What about utilities or cable? You don’t want to be surprised with extra bills that weren’t factored into your budget.
- What is the laundry situation?
If your unit doesn’t have its own washer and dryer, where is the shared laundry room? Is there a laundry room? Stop by the facility and check out the prices on the machines. If you’re lucky you may come across a tenant doing their weekly wash who can offer you some insight about how busy it usually is.
- What is the scoop on parking?
Be sure to ask if you will have your own reserved parking spot, and if you’ll have one or two available. Where will your spot be located? Hopefully it is not a million miles away from your apartment unit. What about the visitor parking? It is exceedingly frustrating when visitors have to circle for parking like it’s Christmas Eve at the mall.
- What happens if I have a noise complaint?
Having a neighbor living above you with scampering kids consistently at 5 am, or a rowdy college kid throwing parties next door is not only annoying, it can really interfere with your life. So how does management handle these sorts of situations?
- Can I see my actual unit?
If your prospective unit is empty, ask to see it to check out the state of the place. You’ll want to see the condition of the appliances, the carpeting, and have any concerns you have addressed ahead of time. If your unit is not available for viewing, be sure to see their sample unit, but ask to see your unit before move-in day. This can save a lot of headache on an already stressful day.
Apartment shopping isn’t the most exciting or fun thing to do, but it is important. Make the most of your house hunting time and ask the right questions before you make the big commitment to spend the next year or longer in any one place. You’ll be happy you did in the long run.