Apartment hunting can be stressful and is not something to take lightly. Apartment living is incredibly popular and tops any other choice of housing in 22 major cities, according to RentCafe. Luckily, the more you prepare ahead of time and do your research, the better an experience you’ll have in renting. To give you a hand, we’ve rounded up the top 5 pitfalls when apartment hunting and how to make sure they don’t happen to you!
Not Reading the Reviews
Research, research, research. Before you go check out an apartment complex, read the reviews. Do people have mainly positive things to say about their experience, or are there a lot of complaints? If there are complaints, do they apply to what you would be doing? You can’t trust every review, which is why Lifehacker suggests keeping an eye for red flags like anonymous accounts and feedback from management. If there are many positive reviews from seemingly real accounts, chances are that it is a good place to live.
Not Checking For Added Fees
A big trap that catches many apartment dwellers is neglecting to understand how many additional fees are tacked onto their rent. In apartments that don’t include utilities like electricity, gas, and water, people often don’t realize how much these services can be until their first bills come and it’s too late. Ask your landlord about utilities and call each of the companies so that you know approximately what you will be paying each month for each service and whether the apartment is worth it. Business Insider lists other additional fees like parking, a fee for pets, renter’s insurance, and application fees.
Not Thoroughly Reading the Lease
Not all leases are the same. Before signing onto a lease, be sure to read the fine print. According to Trulia, you should pay particular attention to the terms of renewal and termination of the lease, guest policy, and maintenance responsibilities. Read everything over before signing and make a second copy for yourself to refer back to in the future if you need it.
Not Asking About Noise
You may fall in love with how an apartment looks, but you won’t really have a good idea about what it’s like to live there from a quick visit. Make sure to talk to anyone that you see in the apartment building and ask if they have any noise complaints. Look around the neighborhood to see if there are any construction projects taking place that might make your dream apartment more of a nightmare.
Going Above Your Budget
It’s very tempting to go above your means if you find an apartment you really love. However, it is ill advised, because once you sign onto a lease, you are committed to making monthly payments and don’t want to have to struggle each month to pay rent. A good rule of thumb, according to The Balance, is that your rent should be about 30% of your net income. There will always be unexpected expenses that crop up, so you don’t want to shell out everything for your rent and food each month and have nothing left over for emergency expenses.
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