Searching for an apartment can be a difficult task. It’s an exciting time full of new beginnings and possibilities. But with so many different factors to weigh and consider, it’s easy to lose track of a few of the most important details. We want to help you through your apartment selection process by offering the following 5 simple tips to help you choose the right apartment community for you and your lifestyle.
- 1. Know What You Can Afford – Developing a functional budget is where every apartment search should begin. Depending on where you choose to live, your new apartment may cost you more than the last and it’s wise to determine how that will affect other aspects of your lifestyle. If you’re having a difficult time reconciling the rental cost to your budget, then you may have to look at lower cost apartment options, or consider sharing your new space with a roommate. It’s important to keep in mind that rent isn’t the only living expense to consider. Depending on the style of community where you live, as a tenant you may be responsible for utilities, parking and possibly even a monthly maintenance fee. Be sure to research all of these cost of living details and if your desired apartment requires them before you sign your lease so you can determine if you’ve found a community that fits your budget.
- 2. Become Familiar With the Neighborhood – One of the most exciting parts about moving into a new apartment is the opportunity to explore and discover a new neighborhood. Since this is where you’ll be calling home, it’s best to spend time during your apartment hunting process driving around the area where each of your potential rentals is located. A few things to consider as you are driving around:
• Can you see yourself calling this home?
• Where are the closest amenities (grocery stores, restaurants, parks, etc.)?
• How close is public transportation?
• What are the schools like?
• Are there neighbors to socialize with?
- 3. Learn Your Rights & Responsibilities – Before signing a lease, which is your first step in responsibly renting an apartment, you should be aware of state and local laws regarding the tenant/landlord relationship. Every state handles these laws differently when it comes to things like security deposit, interest and repair or maintenance policies. This knowledge also helps you become familiar with variety of other basic tenant rights, remedies to issues that may arise and tenant obligations or responsibilities. Whatever you do, never enter a rental situation with just a verbal agreement. Even if you are subletting or leasing from a friend, it is in the best interest of both parties to have a formalized, signed lease agreement for your mutual protection.
- 4. Inquire About Apartment Maintenance – Most apartment communities have a number that you can reach after hours in the event of an emergency, but you should still investigate apartment maintenance before signing a lease. It is also worth your while to ask if there’s a 24-hour a day, seven day a week call center who can contact the maintenance personnel quickly. After all, it’s hard to come to grips with a flooding toilet at 3 a.m. if you need wait until the next day. The last thing that you want is to leave a message with a machine and end up not knowing if your problem is going to be addressed quickly or at all. Don’t be afraid to ask about how many maintenance personnel are employed, how many apartments each is responsible for, how to best contact them and any other questions that come to mind. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use their services in an emergency, but if you do, you’ll be glad that you asked before moving in.
- 5. Collect Firsthand Reviews – While you’re touring the grounds of your potential new apartment community, introduce yourself to your potential neighbors and ask about their experiences living in the community. Consider asking them how long have they lived there, as it reflects well on the apartment management company if residents are willing to live there for a long period of time. Generally, current residents will offer honest answers and opinions about the space and the management company, providing you with valuable input for your decision making process. If you are unable to speak with any residents during or after your tour, be sure to utilize sites such as apartmentratings.com and other apartment peer review sites. Some communities will even have a central hub of information where you can see what residents are saying.
Renting your new apartment can be an extremely rewarding experience with just a little bit of planning. The most important things to remember are to stay within your budget and do some research before signing a lease. If you have any questions about finding the perfect apartment or would like to learn more about how Berger Rental Communities helps you get back to living, visit us online at rentberger.com.