Apartment Shopping: Know What You're Paying For Before Lease Signing

Distracted by the glitz and glamor of a nice, clean community, a potential resident walks into a leasing office and says,"Hello, I'm interested in a two bedroom apartment, can I look at one?"  The leasing consultant answers, "Of course!  How soon are you looking to move?"

The excitement and stress of looking for a new place to stay can be overwhelming, but definitely worth it when you find what you are looking for.  But how much space do you really need and is it necessary to pay extra for things you know you aren't going to use?

When apartment shopping, the leasing consultant may or may not mention the following during your tour, but you might be paying extra for them:

1.  "The monthly rent utilities."  You should be wanting to know how much more in addition to rent is the electric, water, trash, or whatever else you might have to pay fees per month.  Are you also paying for additional services when you don't really have to?  Notice the wiring, heating, and air conditioning units (separate or shared) and other connections.  Ask how much utilities like electricity and gas typically cost per month.

2. "We offer a service to our residents..."  Did your tour guide mention "FREE"?  If not, you most likely will pay extra for that service whatever it might be.

3.  "In addition to paying will also need..."  "How much is that going to cost and do I really need it," you should be thinking.

4.  "Our community has a pool, sauna, jacuzzi, party room, business center, concierge service, work-out facility, play area..."  The more features the property has, the more the residents will pay in rent.  Will you be utilizing all of these features?

Too often people realize soon after paying the first month's rent and utilities that they didn't need everything that was offered to them.  Then what usually happens is the resident wants something smaller or desires to move elsewhere because "...they don't charge for water...I don't have to pay for any additional services..."  Unfortunately, most community managers will not let a new resident out of his or her leasing contract because of buyer's remorse.  

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media