As we enter the peak of the busiest rental and moving period, the array of available apartment options can be overwhelming. Whether you’re an experienced renter, or this is your first time renting, finding the perfect apartment that fits both your lifestyle and budget can be a difficult task. There are an endless amount of questions to consider, such as do you prefer downtown or the suburbs? A cozy duplex or an apartment community? What are your “must have” factors? Parking? Maybe an abundance of natural light?
Although these questions are all based on personal preference and we can’t answer them for you, we can guide you through some of the top considerations that should make it onto your checklist.
Smaller apartments may rely on their landlord for management of the property, while other owners may hire a property management company to handle maintenance services, leasing, marketing, and more. The quality of service the property management company provides will directly impact the quality of your overall experience.
As you are apartment hunting, it doesn’t hurt to do some research on the company managing your apartment building. Take a look at what other communities they manage, ask around about their reputation, maybe even talk to some tenants. Some management companies, like Ciminelli, can offer great benefits such as 24/7 and emergency maintenance services.
It’s important to know that wherever you end up, you are working with a reliable company that will handle all of your requests efficiently.
First and foremost, you need to consider your budget. Determining your budget comes before all the other considerations on this list, as it determines what you can realistically afford. Conducting some thorough market research on what most apartments are renting for in the area will help you determine where to start. From there, determine your preferred maximum spend and only look at apartments within your realistic range.
As always, keep an eye out for hidden costs. The apartment may offer off-street parking, but at a cost of $50/month. If there is a pet policy, it is common that there is an upfront pet deposit along with monthly pet rent. Another added expense to be mindful of is renter’s insurance. Although this is highly recommended to renters whether required or not, it is still an additional cost not included in a standard lease.
It is important to start with a realistic budget in mind that captures both your priorities and wants; this will set the stage for a realistic apartment search.
As the saying goes, “location, location, location.” As with all real estate, whether it be commercial or residential, location is everything. If an apartment is not in a safe and convenient location, then all other considerations fade away. As a renter, you’ll want to consider what locations are most convenient to you. Is it proximity to your work? Maybe it’s the ability to walk 2 blocks to a supermarket, or an easily accessible public transport option.
Neighborhood safety is also a very important consideration. It may be a beautiful apartment with all the amenities a renter could ask for, but that won’t matter if it’s located in an unsafe neighborhood with a high crime rate. It doesn’t hurt to ask neighbors, or friends who rented in the general location, to get the scoop on neighborhood safety. There are also helpful websites that disclose historical crime rates and statistics by neighborhood.
Although amenities and square footage can easily capture your attention, as a renter you have to be sure the space fits your life. This is where an apartment tour becomes an important experience to help you visualize your furniture, decorations, and ultimately your life within those walls.
Some physical considerations include wall measurements, window placement, and outlets. Asking for measurements before a showing, or bringing measuring tape to your apartment tour, will help you decide furniture placement – and if that king-sized bed will take up your entire bedroom. If you’re a fan of natural light, window placement can be a deciding factor for you. Maybe there are only celestial windows throughout the entire apartment, meaning natural light is scarce. Outlets can determine the appliances you can keep in the kitchen, or where you can install your TV and entertainment center.
Can you picture your day-to-day life happening within that apartment? Such as, getting ready for work, having friends and family over, relaxing on the weekends? It is important to feel comfortable in your new space, so be sure to take your time while touring and really try to imagine yourself in your new apartment.
Amenities… where to begin? Every apartment hosts different amenities, from air-conditioning to inground pools, to dog wash stations – like at The Mentholatum. Amenities come down to personal preference and lifestyle. It helps to consider what is a non-negotiable, and what you may have to compromise on.
For example, maybe the amenities highest on your list are an in-unit washer and dryer, dishwasher, and porch. You visit a handful of apartments in your ideal location and realize that it’s harder than you originally thought to have an apartment with all three of these amenities. This is where you may have to compromise. One of the apartments may have an in-unit washer and dryer and dishwasher, no porch, but a park that is a block away. Rent is also significantly lower than the apartments that do have porches. Will this nearby park satisfy your need for outdoor space? Will you take a more affordable rent over a porch?
There will always be a range of amenities as you tour apartment after apartment, ultimately it is up to you as the renter to decide what will make you the most comfortable.
A lease agreement is the contract between a tenant and landlord that gives the tenant the right to live in a property for a fixed amount of time. Understanding the terms of a lease agreement will help to avoid any major issues in the future. It is essential to know what the landlord will expect of you and what you can expect from your landlord.
Although this agreement can be a tedious read, it is crucial to have a full understanding of the terms. Some key details that you should review include renewal policies, security deposits, utilities, insurance, pets, subletting, and lease break policies. If you have any uncertainty about the lease, it doesn’t hurt to have a local realtor or lawyer review the terms before signing.
Searching for an apartment can be a stressful process, but keeping these considerations in mind will put you on the right path. It’s important to know what you want before exploring all of your options. If you’re interested in learning more about current availability of Ciminelli’s managed residential properties, visit www.ciminelli.com/residential-properties.