Whether you love apartment hunting or despise it, there are certain things your must-have list should include to improve your chances of loving your new home.
Though this list may vary from person to person, here are 10 things to look for in your next apartment:
- Location: Even more important than living in the hottest neighborhood is how close your place is to things that are important to you – public transportation, work, family and friends, and conveniences like grocery stores and restaurants. If you see a place you like, pull up Google Maps and figure out how long your commute will be to your favorite places.
- Storage: During your showing, don’t hesitate to open the closets and check out how much space there is. Once you pack everything up, you’ll be surprised how much stuff you'll need to find room for in your next place. Be sure to ask if there is additional storage in the building, and take a look at it while you’re there.
- Appliances: Things like dishwashers and laundry facilities may not be essential, but they sure make daily life easier. While some people are fine with laundry in the building, others can’t live without machines in the unit. Figure out which type you are and add it to your checklist.
- Heat and air conditioning: Depending on what climate you live in, heat and/or air conditioning are comforts renters shouldn't have to live without. Find out if the A/C is central, room by room or nonexistent, and ask if you can install window units if necessary. If the current tenants are home during your tour, ask them about the temperature control and average heating bills to avoid any unexpected surprises come winter.
- Pet policy: If you have a pet, you need to find out the landlord’s policy before you even set up a showing. If they don’t allow pets, don’t waste your time looking at the place. On the flip side, if the building is pet friendly and you have allergies or don’t want to risk moving next door to an incessantly barking dog, it might not be the place for you.
- Outdoor space: Another nice to have is a yard, deck or small patio to get some fresh air when the weather’s nice. This especially comes in handy for people who like to entertain, and those who go stir crazy being stuck inside all day. If your potential place doesn't have this perk, find out if there’s a park or public pool nearby.
- Parking: If you have a car, being able to park without too much hassle is crucial. You don’t want to spend 20 minutes circling the block every day after work, no matter how nice your place is. If you check out a unit you like on a weekend, swing by on Monday after work and see how easy it is to find a spot, or ask the current renters if they have trouble.
- Landlord availability: This one can be hard to scope out before you've signed your lease, but do some sleuthing about your potential landlord. If it’s a big rental company with dozens of buildings around town, they can sometimes be hard to get a hold of when something breaks. Find out their policy on how long they take to respond to a problem, and make sure it’s included in the lease.
- Security: If the door to your potential apartment opens right onto the sidewalk with no fence or common entryway, safety may be a concern. Especially if you’re living alone, look for a building with a lobby or even a doorman. If it’s a smaller building, higher floors are usually safer than first floor or garden units.
- Noise: Everything from the location to the thickness of the walls can affect how much noise you’ll have to endure in a potential pad. Being on a busy street, above a bar or next to train tracks should raise alarms. Also pay attention to how many surfaces you share with your neighbors – walls, floor and/or ceiling. At the very least, being on the top floor means you won’t have any upstairs neighbors walking around in high heels.
What is your apartment top 10 list?