Wednesday

On Apartment Shopping - How Do You Know You Will Hate the Place in the Future?

There are those signs that one will simply not like a seemingly appealing apartment, town home, rental house, or some other dwelling in the near future.  The property, the leasing consultant, and the interior of the unit draws you in--it makes you feel like you are at home.  However, if you aren't discerning you will overlook signs that what looks beautiful will be an ugly nightmare for you in the future.  So what to look out for?

1)  Perform a sniff test.  The scented fragrances that one smells while on tour mask things like mold and mildew.

2)  Observe the walls, flooring and ceiling.  As you walk notice, how the flooring feels under your feet.  Are there soft patches, bumps, and other things that just might end up being quite annoying for you in the future?  What about holes, mildew and markings on walls?  Run your hand over the wall and feel for soft spots.  Check for past or present signs of water damage on walls and ceilings too.  These things are typically covered up--that is until you move in and experience a major rain fall.  Don't forget to check for dead insects (or alive ones) in each room.  If you notice a pattern, chances are the apartment has a history of insect and/or rodent problems.  Look out for feces.

3)  Open up cabinets, doors, and other things and notice imperfections.  Once again perform a sniff test.  Sometimes broken doors, hinges, and other things are carefully placed back without being fixed.  If you don't test them, you just might find out when you move in when a cabinet door handle ends up in your hand.

4)  If electricity is on, turn light switches on and off and listen for any sounds that might indicate an electrical problem.  Notice lighting flickering not just in one room but throughout the unit.  You don't want to discover that when you plug in your computer and other devices that outlets no longer work or frequently go out and fuses need to be replaced more than necessary.

5)  Visit the rental on a weekend when everyone is home.  Listen for noisy neighbors and notice where they park, how close are the community areas from your windows, and other things that might be problematic for you especially if you value your peace and quiet.

6)  Pay attention when residents approach the leasing consultant or visit the office.  Listen to what they say and watch their demeanor.  Are they happy being there?

The more you can find out about the dwelling BEFORE papers are signed the better.  You don't want to end up hating the place simply because you didn't perform your due diligence.  Talk with residents after speaking with the leasing agent.  What is snow and garbage removal like?  Are things like the security gate working properly and is it well-lit at night?  What is it that people don't like about staying there and what is it that they do enjoy?  Stop by unannounced through the week after business hours, observe the community and the people.  By doing this, you will get a good idea whether or not the place really is what it appears to be.

Nicholl McGuire is the owner and manager of this blog.
When you notice unsightly things don't agree to move in until repairs have been made otherwise you just might be stuck with them for the duration of your lease term.

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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