Finding a suitable apartment takes time and planning in order to make the right choice. By being picky, and checking out your options, eventually you will narrow down your choices to the best apartment for you. Here are some tips on finding not just a place to live but a great place to call home.

Look at as many properties as you can possibly handle seeing

Going to a multitude of properties is both time consuming and annoying. But, by doing so, you will widen your choices and give you a scope of possibilities to compare against one another. Take a notebook with you and take notes on each property. Seeing this many tends to make your mind blend them together after awhile, if you don’t. Write down the pros and cons of each unit you think is worthy of considering. If you don’t like it, just be glad you won’t be living there in the future and move on, after thanking the agent kindly for showing the dump to you.

Interview your potential rental agent or landlord

This applies especially to rental units owned by private owners. Large apartment complexes are generally run by hired staff, who may change from time to time. When talking to a private owner, see what their complaints are about former tenants, ask what they expect from their renters, and overall, observe their attitude towards apartment repairs, or other things that go wrong. If they are impatient, unfriendly or difficult to deal with, reconsider renting from them – no matter how great the rental is. Unpleasant landlords can make a renting experience a nightmare by blaming things that go wrong on you, or being unreasonable about little things. Be careful who you rent from. Especially don’t rent from anyone with a hot temper. As a personal preference, I would rather spend more money and rent from a higher quality complex run by a professional company than a gorgeous place owned by a mean private owner.

Inspect each apartment very carefully

It is important that whatever you rent be sanitary, and clean. Also, there should be no insects of any kind, or any of their residue, anywhere on the premises. If you see cockroaches, or even a cockroach egg case, run for the door. Where there’s one, there are most definitely more of their creepy, crawly buddies somewhere in the shadows.

Do the appliances, windows and faucets work? Check out the water pressure. Look to see if the toilet is up to date and clean. Is there a fire extinguisher? Are the walls clean, with fresh paint, or are they worn and stained or peeling? If they are and you love the place and must have it, negotiate for them to have the place fully painted (on their dime, not yours) before you will consider moving in.

Consider the neighborhood

Will you feel safe living in this area? Do you prefer living in the city or country? Is there parking for your car? What kind of crime is in the area? You can call the local city hall and inquire about the address to see if there is any history of trouble there. Visit there in the evening, to see what it is like at a different time of day. Is it close to the bank, store or car mechanic? Convenience is key if your car breaks down unexpectedly and you need to walk everywhere. What kind of neighbors are around? Are they quiet or loud? See if you can hear them from inside the apartment. If you can hear other people clearly through the walls, that apartment will get on your nerves. A gorgeous apartment I had once had paper-thin walls, which was a shame. I lasted a year before leaving for a much better place. No wonder people came and left on a monthly basis. If you can hear your upstairs neighbor snore, the apartment is not worth living in.

You have the most power in a rental agent’s world, when you say you will rent the place from them. Before signing anything, kindly negotiate for any repairs or special needs you may have. Be willing to give and take. They shouldn’t nickel and dime you for basic repairs, since those are their responsibility. If you want to move in the middle of the month, ask if they pro-rate the rent (charge you only for the days you are there.) It saves money when moving to move halfway through the month, by shaving a little off the first rent.

By being savvy and asking questions, you will narrow down your final choices. When that final contract is signed, be proud that you held off for the place that interested you the most. If you’re going to spend a few years of your life in one place, it had better be to your liking and pleasant to live in. Once the move is done, relax and enjoy your lovely new place. It will be worth all the work you put into finding it.

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