Hello everyone! Today on the blog I am sharing a post idea that was actually given to me by best friend Mikia! She’s been apartment hunting lately and wanted to know my best tips. I’ve rented out 4 apartments in my life so far AND worked at my college apartment complex for a year as a Leasing Agent. I know everything there is to know! In this post, I’ll share What to Look For When Renting An Apartment!
Whether you’re moving into an apartment for the first time, or moving to a new location, this post is for you! I feel like there are things a lot of people might not see as red flags, but that will end up being red flags once they move in. I’m going to try and list everything that will set you up for success! If this sounds like something that could be helpful, be sure to keep reading.
Check The Complex’s Proximity to Things
This is one of the biggest tips for first time apartment renters! You might forget that proximity is one of the most important tips to look out for, but once you move in you’ll soon realize you should’ve checked the area more. I have made this mistake before and don’t want you to make the same one! Before signing a lease, there are a few things you need to make sure are near you.
- Your favorite grocery store.
- An affordable gas station.
- A pharmacy in your network.
- Your job (obviously the most important).
- Restaurant and fast food options.
- An urgent care/emergency room.
- Places to shop.
- Hotels in case family comes to visit.
- Parks (if you have kids and/or a dog).
- A post office/places to ship items.
Another tip that can fit into this section is to make sure you check the commute times for each of these items! 5 miles in Augusta, GA will take a completely different amount of time than it would in Atlanta, GA. When I moved to the city, I used Google Maps during rush hour and then tracked the distance between my complex and my job! This is how I knew the area I needed to look into.
Look at ALL Reviews
This next tip is one of the #1 things to know before renting an apartment! When anyone I know personally wants tips on renting an apartment, I always say to LOOK AT THE REVIEWS and to look at ALL of them. There are a few things that make me 100% disregard a place when I’m deciding where I want to live! Three things I look for are noise level, pest control, and office staff response.
If a majority of the reviews say that residents have had a lot of issues and that office staff haven’t done a single thing, I RUN AWAY. Without a responsive staff, it’s likely that you’ll never get your major issues handled. I’ve had a poor response while at previous apartment complexes, but at my current one the staff is usually really helpful when you ask things of them!
Another side note I wanted to make is that some apartments pay residents in gift cards or merchandise to leave reviews. This doesn’t happen always, but be wary of a large grouping of 4-5 star reviews! These are almost always not 100% truthful.
Delve Into Reviews About Maintenance
I made this a separate section because this is THE most important aspect of deciding where to live. Maintenance response time, as well as having a maintenance staff who actually knows what they’re doing, is the one aspect of an apartment complex I will not negotiate on. When I lived in Orlando, the people above me let their tub overflow and it flooded my WALL and leaked through the ceiling.
It took maintenance over two hours to get to my apartment and then all he did was caulk the wall back up. Nothing was dried out and it’s likely that there’s mold in the wall now. Also make sure that your complex has an after hours maintenance line in case your washer/dishwasher overflows, you get locked out, and/or your air conditioner/heater stops working.
See If You Can Tour the Actual Unit
When I worked at my apartment complex (as well as when I toured other complexes), we had to show potential residents a model room. It’s obviously going to look a LOT better than what you’ll be getting (especially if it’s a college apartment) and will be fully furnished as well. My current complex, and a lot of other complexes, are able to show you the EXACT room you’ll be moving into and that is what you want to see!
They won’t be trying to hide anything from you and you’ll know the exact space you’ll be having. One mistake I made was that I signed a lease THINKING my apartment was on the top floor (that’s what it looked like in the images) and I ended up on the 3rd floor by accident. It was AWFUL and the floors were so paper thin that I ended up having to move after six months.
Know About Safety in the Community
When getting your first place, it’s important to know about safety in the community you’re going to live it. You want to make sure you aren’t in a place with a lot of crime! It’s also a bonus if the community has working cameras. I personally feel like a gate is hit or miss because it’s easy for people to drive in behind other cars or have their friends let them in. My gate here also breaks sometimes and when it does they just leave it wide open!
When I worked at my apartment complex in college, we had courtesy officers. These were police officers that lived on property for free, but were virtually on call when things happened in the community! This is nice for a community to have especially if there is something that happens for health reasons too. There could possibly be an officer there to help!
Tour All Facilities
One of the main checklist items you likely have on your list is facilities! Do you want the complex with the biggest pool? A large gym with pelotons? A dog park? These are the things you want to ask yourself before you commit to a place to live! I don’t have a dog, I was okay with just having minimal gym equipment, and I didn’t care too much about having a pool. I really was focused on a nice space to live in!
Thanks to COVID, that turned out to be the right decision. That said, if you are looking for certain amenities, be sure to tour the facilities in order to see if they are offering what you’re looking for! Also make sure to ask about how often they clean, and make sure if there’s a gym that they have wipes for you to use for the equipment. I’m a germaphobe so that’s always important to me!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post about What to Look For When Renting An Apartment! I have had my fair share of bad and good places that I’ve lived, so I always am very particular about what I want. If you have any other tips for renters, be sure to leave a comment below!
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Photos by Hannah Lozano