10 Things To Consider While Apartment Hunting
Finding the perfect apartment can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be when you have the right questions to ask. Here are 10 things to consider when looking for a new apartment.
1. How Big Is the Apartment?
Space is a key factor in choosing an apartment. Whether you need extra bedrooms — for kids, guests, or a home office — or you only want a one-bedroom with a view, the size of the apartment is important.
The layout is also something to consider. Do you need an accessible apartment with wider doorways or a shower instead of a tub? Is there enough storage or will you need to downsize or store your belongings somewhere else? Since you spend all of your time in this space outside of work, these can be deciding factors.
2. What Is the Price?
Apartment price and value are often at the top of your priority list whether you’re buying or renting an apartment. Before signing papers, it’s important to consider whether you can afford the rent or mortgage.
You might be willing to pay more for a high-class place with more amenities, or something that’s in a more expensive neighborhood where you'll need to commute less. But this higher cost might also mean having to cut back in other areas, which you may need to consider. Research the area and compare with other properties and look at the cost of living.
3. How Convenient Is the Location?
Take a look around the neighborhood and get a sense of the community. If you have kids, you might look for family-friendly conveniences like playgrounds and sports parks. If you like being outdoors or you have pets, consider how close you’ll be to green spaces, walking trails, and parks.
Check out other amenities, too. Quick access to nearby grocery stores and restaurants can make evenings easier after work. Being close to work and transit can also mean spending less time commuting and more time relaxing.
4. Are Pets Allowed?
Ask about the animal policy and which dog breeds or other animals are not allowed. Some properties will allow only small breed dogs and pets like fish, hamsters, or birds. Some will charge fees.
In most pet-friendly places, there will also be rules about yard clean-up, noise, damage, training, and local by-laws. Most cities don’t allow pets off-leash except in designated areas and the manager might have the same rules. Find out these policies before you move in.
5. Is There a Non-Smoking Policy?
Even though lots of people smoke, it’s common for properties to ban smoking indoors and on the premises. There are also usually expensive penalties for smoking in a non-smoking apartment. If the apartment community has outdoor smoking, check how close you’d be to the area. If you don’t smoke or are allergic, being too close can be a drawback.
Lots of places, like Liv Communities, also ban non-tobacco smoking and vaping. Many states have legalized cannabis, but there may be strict bans and penalties for smoking, growing, or having it on the property.
6. What Amenities Are Included?
There are different types of amenities, but check the basics like appliances first. Most places include a fridge and stove but might not have a microwave or laundry appliances. If you’re willing to pay a higher rent for upgraded living and convenience, look for in-suite laundry and appliances included.
Some apartments like those offered by Liv Multifamily include a host of amenities like wellness programs with a fitness center and spa, free WiFi in the building, housekeeping, pool, lounge area, and even regular social events with your neighbors. Amenities offer comfort and perks right within your building, which can make your life easier and stress-free.
7. Are There Any Extra Fees?
Amenities might be included as part of higher rent, but sometimes they’re not. You might need to pay a membership for the fitness center or to access the pool. Other services like parking, snow removal, move-in fees, and homeowner association fees might all be extra costs that are due monthly or right away. Ask about what you’re expected to cover and what’s included.
8. What’s the Lease Term?
Apartment managers often ask you to commit to a certain amount of time in the property. If you need flexibility, confirm the term for the property. Sometimes there are fees for moving out before your term is up. Some states don’t have rent control laws so a shorter term might cost you more. Generally, the longer your lease, the cheaper your rent will be.
9. Is a Security Deposit Required?
A security deposit is a down payment that the apartment manager holds until you move out. It’s normally equal to one month's rent and is held in trust to cover any of your damages or other costs from your time in the apartment. It’s rare for a place to not require a security deposit but ask about the policy. How much is due upfront with your first month’s rent and what are the accounting procedures for when you move out?
10. What Does the Apartment Look Like, and Are There Utilities Included?
New apartments outfitted with smart and modern technology are exciting places to live, but older renovated and upgraded places can also be excellent. Take a look at the property before you sign and check out the design profile, the finishing, and its condition. Some places like Liv Multifamily also have beautiful grounds complete with a resort-style pool and lounge area, native landscaping, and green spaces, which all add to the experience.
Some apartment communities offer flat-rate rent that covers all basic utilities like water, waste, gas, and electricity. Other places divide the overall building fees between the number of residents and add it to your next rent payment. Sometimes utilities might be directly billed to you and you’ll be responsible for setting them up and paying the fees.
Finding the Perfect Apartment
There are lots of things to consider when looking for a new apartment. You can do lots of research online, but seeing it in person can help you make a final decision. If you’re looking for a new place, check out Liv Multifamily apartment communities with our floorplans or take a tour.