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What to look for when choosing your next apartment

Choosing an apartment can often be an overwhelming endeavor. There are so many things to think about, and cost and size are just the beginning. Here are a few other variables to be mindful of when looking for your next apartment.

Location

Location is always one of the most important aspects to choosing an apartment. If you live in the suburbs you may not have quite as much flexibility, but if you live in a busy city you’ll be able to decide which area of the city or distinct neighborhood you want to live in. Being able to walk to restaurants, shops, and public transportation can make life so much easier when living in a big city. If you commute by metro or bus be sure to check out where the nearest stops are. I lived in Washington, D.C., for over a year and even though I lived in a tiny apartment, I loved being able to walk to the grocery store, to the metro stop, and countless restaurants and shops, all within my little neighborhood. I went months without getting in my car and it was so nice to not have to deal with traffic!

Utilities

Will you have to pay for gas as well as electricity? I once lived in an apartment in Hawaii where everything in the home was powered by electricity … except for the hot water heater. The gas bill wasn’t much but it certainly took me by surprise.

Management

How responsive is the property manager? When you have a problem with your apartment, it’s always a relief when the management team is quick to react to your maintenance requests.

Appliances

Is there a dishwasher? It’s often easy to overlook whether or not a unit has one, especially if you’re looking to rent a condo (individually owned unit) rather than an apartment. I made that mistake once and hated having to wash dishes by hand.

What is the washer/dryer situation? Is it in the unit? Sometimes you have no choice but to use a communal washer and dryer, but having the set in your unit is definitely more convenient.

If you are an avid cook (or if you have a preference) make sure to check if the range is gas or electric. You can cook a delicious meal on any sort of stove, but often times you can control the heat much better on a gas stove. Over the years, I’ve had cooktops, coils, and gas burners, and I definitely prefer gas to the other alternatives.

Parking

Do you have a car? Most of the time a parking spot is provided, but sometimes if you’re living in the city where space is at a premium you have to pay for a parking spot. Take note of whether or not the parking spot is covered. Parking outside is often not a big deal, but if you live in a colder climate it can become a big deal very quickly once the snow starts to fall.

Choosing an apartment always requires a little bit of compromise, so make sure you weigh all of your options before you make your decision. There’s nothing worse than making a swift decision only to find yourself regretting it when you still have time left on your lease.