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10 Things to Consider When Choosing an Apartment

tips to help choose apartment

January 29, 2021 | Leasing Team | Apartment Tips

Choosing an apartment doesn't have to be a tiresome, tedious task.

As long as you ask the right questions of the apartment manager, and know what to consider when choosing an apartment, you can filter out less savory options with ease and find the best one for you.

Here are 10 suggestions for what to look for when apartment hunting, but don't be afraid to ask the apartment manager more about specifics!

1. Does the Apartment Allow Pets?

Whether an apartment allows pets or not is important whether you have an animal companion or not.

Find out which breeds of dogs and other animals are barred from the property. Many landlords don't allow fighting dog breeds, for example.

If you have an exotic pet, you may have to ask the apartment manager directly.

If you don't have animals but have allergies, it's doubly important to ask which animals are allowed. For example, if you have a cat dander allergy, but the apartment does not allow cats, you are probably safe to rent there.

2. Is Smoking Allowed on the Property?

Again, this is important to consider whether you smoke or not.

If you don't smoke but the apartment allows it, consider how close your apartment is to the outdoor smoking areas, and be sure to find out whether a smoker was a resident before you if indoor smoking is allowed.

If you are a smoker, it's also important to consider what you are lighting up. While there are many states that have now legalized cannabis, private businesses still have the power to ban its use on their property.

Check the apartment's lease contract to find out the company's policy on non-tobacco smoking.

a no smoking sign hanging from a ceiling

3. How Convenient is the Location?

Location and convenient access to the local area are key factors in choosing the right apartment. Think about where you go regularly, whether that be school, work, or otherwise.

Choose an apartment that doesn't force you to drive an extra 30 minutes on your commute, an apartment that works with your lifestyle rather than altering it.

Consider going on a dry-run to your top spots from the apartment before signing a lease, to get a feel for the local traffic and roads.

4. What Utilities Come With the Lease?

It's becoming more and more common to see full utility coverage in modern leases, especially around colleges. This usually raises the price of the monthly rent payment, but you will worry less about making payments on time and managing multiple bills.

However, in some situations, it is actually cheaper to choose an apartment that does not have utilities included. If you don't use a lot of water or electricity, the $80 addition to your rent each month will feel a lot more expensive than managing your utilities privately.

Consider the average utility costs, and look at what's covered vs what you are responsible for.

5. What About Amenities?

Amenities are extra things that aren't required but are a nice bonus to the rest of the apartment's features. Amenities include features like hot tubs, exercise rooms, clubhouses, and even laundry facilities.

Amenities are sometimes paid upfront with the application fee, but sometimes the amenity fee is added to the monthly rent. Consider what extras you need and which you could do without before committing to those payments!

a swimming pool with a ladder on the side of it

6. How Long Will You Lease?

The length of your lease can determine a lot of things for the apartment manager. Some states do not control the cost of rent, and as a result, companies can charge different rates for different lengths of stay.

Typically, the longer you commit to in your lease, the cheaper your monthly payments will be. If you only want to stay for half a year, make sure to double-check the rent rate being offered the difference between a one-year contract and a half-a-year contract can be staggering.

7. What's the Neighborhood Like?

One thing not everybody considers is what the neighbors are like, and what the surrounding neighborhood is like. College towns tend to be rowdy the closer you get to university grounds, for example. On the other hand, small complexes in suburbs tend to be quiet and unobtrusive.

Don't be afraid to knock on a few doors and ask current residents what the community is like.

While it might feel like you're being annoying, you might just find someone who had an awful experience and learns information that will dissuade you from choosing the wrong apartment.

8. Has the Apartment Been Renovated?

Renovations in apartments are becoming more commonplace. It's a way for an apartment company to charge a little bit more each month for a more modernized layout and design.

Oftentimes, renovated apartments come with better kitchen appliances, new paint, new furniture (if the apartment is pre-furnished), and a host of other improvements.

If you can budget for it, renovated apartments are in every way an upgrade from outdated ones, but rent will be significantly more each month.

9. What Costs/Services Aren't Covered?

The apartment might cover some utilities, offer amenities, and pay for some services for the tenants like trash removal. Consider, though, what is not covered when choosing the right apartment.

The apartment may not pay for snow removal in winter, or it won't include renter's insurance as part of the rent.

It's just as important to know what is your responsibility and what your apartment manager covers.

a hand holding a bunch of money

10. What Do the Reviews Say?

Lastly, check the reviews for the apartment or apartment complex online with sites like Google Reviews and Yelp, and on social media. You will find comments both positive and negative from real residents, and you can also see the company's response to online criticism.

Take some of these reviews with a grain of salt, though, as it's more common for angry, frustrated people to write negative reviews than someone who had a decent experience.

Choosing an Apartment for You

There are a lot of questions to ask when it comes to how to choose an apartment, and a lot of information to filter through in pinpointing a perfect match. In addition to every apartment hunting tip listed above, don't be afraid to ask more pointed questions of the apartment managers.

The best way to find out all of this information is by taking a tour, by being there in person.

Check out our apartment floor plans at The Pines of Southmoor in Greeley, CO to find out some of this information on our own apartments!