Apartment Shopping: What to Look for

By: Kinan Beck

"Moving into a new apartment can be thrilling. It can also be overwhelming, frustrating and confusing. That's because there are so many choices to make when it comes to looking for a new apartment and you know that you want to make the right choices because you're probably going to be living there for at least a year. Whether you're moving in to your very first apartment (out of your parents' house or out of your dorm) or your moving in to a new apartment after having rented several that were all right but not great, there are some basic thing that you'll want to be looking for.

Things to look for in an apartment include:

Ã?â‚?? Cost. You'll want to look at the monthly cost of the apartment including the rent and the approximate price of utilities. If you can find a place that includes some utilities, you should. You should also look at the cost of the deposit and how refundable it will be.

Ã?â‚?? Decorating concerns. If you absolutely have to be able to paint your walls or hang some shelving, you'd better make sure it's allowed at the apartment that you want to rent.

Ã?â‚?? Lease. Find out what the length of the lease is first. Before you actually rent the apartment, make sure that you look at all of the other terms of the lease agreement.

Ã?â‚?? Neighborhood. You want to rent an apartment in a neighborhood that you'll enjoy spending time in. Learn about it, see if you can find some neighbors to talk to (local coffee shops are a good place for such conversations).

Ã?â‚?? On-site amenities. Do you want an apartment with a pool or a fitness center? Find out what is offered at each apartment you see.

Ã?â‚?? Options for appliances. Is there a washer/dryer in the building or a hook-up in the apartment? Does the kitchen come with a dishwasher?

Ã?â‚?? Pets. If you have pets or might want them in the future, you should see if your apartment allows them and what kinds are okay to have. You should find out if a pet deposit is required or what charges will come up if your pet does any damage to the apartment.

Ã?â‚?? Roommates. If you're not going to be living alone, you need to find out the rules about having roommates and look realistically at how well you'll be able to share the space.

Ã?â‚?? Subletting. If you think you might leave the city before the lease is up (for example during a summer break from college), you need to learn the rules about subletting your apartment before you sign an agreement to rent it.

Ã?â‚?? Transportation and / or parking. If you drive, you'll want to know if there is parking at the apartment, if it costs extra and if it is covered, locked or just out in the open. If you use public transportation, you will want to find out what buses run near your apartment or how easy it is to get cabs.

Your home should be a place that you can enjoy spending time in. This means that you should put in the extra effort to find an apartment that you really love, even though it means sifting through some hassles when you're doing it. The efforts are well worth the rewards when you get to come home each night to an apartment that meets your needs."

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