Apartment hunting? Ask yourself these questions first
Regardless of the area you’re looking to move in, the real estate market is not cheap. The property types vary from high rise condos with all the bells and whistles, to fifth floor walk-ups in century-old buildings, single-family homes with little backyards to lofts, former industrial buildings. Wherever you choose to look, there are a few important aspects you should keep in mind.
- Price. One formula that can really save your bank account and your peace of mind is to find the place where rent and utility costs would not go over one third of your income.
- Size. Space is a delicate restriction, everyone craves for large spaces. But if you live in a large metropolitan area, the real questions are: can you live in a studio? Will you be able to breathe in 330 square feet? Would a two-bedroom or three-bedroom meet your needs? How many baths?
- Condition. Brand new or old charm? The most expensive homes, as you probably guessed, are the old and historic, but impeccably renovated and the brand new ones with modern design and plenty of light.
Second tier properties are less exclusive, but still desirable; they’re either new and in a good shape, but without any feature you’d label as luxurious, or they’re slightly beat up, but with some single great feature that makes it worthy to you. These features are either a patch of outdoor space, views or a fireplace. Other features are related to the area around the apartment, such as close proximity to the transportation, a nice coffeeshop, bar, or park. And then you look on the inside.
- Kitchen. When opting for an average apartment, remember that the devil is in the details. Make sure the one you’re choosing to have your meals in is clean and that there is enough space for the bags of food and for the prep work. Many renters faced the situation where they had no other choice but to renovate the kitchen themselves, and that means extra money and time. In the event that you’re thinking to renovate it yourself, at least make sure you get a good deal with your landlord, because when you leave, you won’t take it with you.
- Bathroom. Here too search for cleanliness and see if the facilities are what you’re looking for. A rental with one-and-a-half bathroom is preferred, especially if you’re sharing or have kids. Also, make sure the hot water is hot enough.
- Safety. Look into the crime stats of the area you’re planning to move to. It will happen that you’ll be returning home late at night, you don’t want to feel too vulnerable. Add renter’s insurance as your guardian and you’ll increase your peace of mind.
- Noise. A bar, restaurant, firehouse, construction site, big intersection, or any other facility outside your future apartment will impact your comfort level by making it impossible to sleep. Watch out for those.
- Rules. A “quiet after 11PM” rule should make the party-goer/party-host in you look somewhere else for your next home.
- Outdoor space. Especially in major metropolitan areas, outdoor space is scarce. However, a little something like a backyard, roof access, a deck, could still be found.
- Laundry. The best option is to have laundry in the unit, but a clean and accessible facility inside the building is also a good deal. If neither is available, find the location of the nearest laundry.