Choosing an apartment is no easy task. In my experience with renting, I looked at apartment after apartment until I found one that fit my list of requirements. Even when I was a student and wanted to stay around campus, where my choices were limited, I didn’t settle for the first apartment I saw. I shopped around until I found one that impressed me in the few key areas I decided were important before I signed a lease. While most people know it’s impossible to find exactly what you’re looking for, there are certain key factors that renters look for when choosing where to rent. Here were mine:
They say first impressions are the most important, right? Well, how an apartment looks from the street is often one’s first impression of the place and it determines greatly whether or not a renter will choose to rent there. There were some apartments I looked at where I made up my mind that I didn’t want to rent there based on the way it looked from the outside. One building I looked at was so dilapidated and the garbage-littered lawn was so overgrown with weeds that I decided before even venturing inside that it was not the apartment for me.
Safety and Security
No one wants to feel unsafe in his or her own home. Does the apartment appear to be in a safe neighborhood? Do the locks appear sturdy? Is there a security system in the building? Renters will choose a place in which they feel safe and secure and will ultimately choose the apartment that makes them feel the most protected.
Every renter is looking for different amenities and everyone’s apartment search is different but there are certain amenities that I think are universal such as available parking, laundry in-unit or on premise, and outdoor or deck space. Some renters even look for a workout room, pool, or a doorman. My roommates and I decided that we wanted in-unit laundry in our second apartment after dealing with sharing one washer and dryer with ten different tenants in our first apartment. There was NEVER a good time to do my laundry. After that, we only searched for apartments that featured this amenity, which goes to show you how important available amenities are in choosing the right fit for an apartment.
The Apartment Itself
Did you think I forgot about the apartment itself?! Of course not. The apartment’s appearance and layout plays perhaps the greatest role in a renter’s decision. Renters will look for an apartment with big enough bedrooms to fit their stuff, kitchen appliances that are clean and up-to-date, and a generous living space. When I look for an apartment, I want to imagine an apartment that I can see myself living in, not one that I need to clean or fix-up.
Have you ever looked at an apartment with a landlord that was so mean or demanding that you couldn’t imagine ever living under their tyrannical rule? I toured an apartment with a landlord who told me I couldn’t wear shoes on his floors and couldn’t have guests over after 10pm. We all appreciate a competent and attentive landlord, but if the landlord makes a bad impression on the first visit, I doubt renters will be likely to rent from him or her. I’ve always looked for landlords who seemed fair, kind, and attentive enough to be available for building maintenance but not banging on my door every day to check up. And if they offer you the ability to pay your rent online, even better!