Apartments can be the best option for first time property seekers, students, or for anyone simply looking for a cost effective way to find a living space for a short period of time. I currently live in an apartment, and I very recently went through the long process of switching apartments. Take a few tips from me before searching or switching apartments, and signing your first lease.
The Smaller the Better
In the area I live, there is one huge property management company and a gazillion smaller ones. Assuming other towns have similar property ownership situations, I would recommend going with the smaller apartment complex if the choice becomes a coin toss (like it was for me). Think of it as the difference between going to a big university or a small college, except the big university doesn’t have any sports teams, extra educational amenities or even a lower cost. You always get more attention at the smaller complexes, and they will respond to your broken appliance questions and billing issues much faster and more effectively than other places.
Who Lives at the Complex?
You would be surprised by the extent your neighbors at your apartment complex can play in your overall living experience. If you have young kids, it would be best to find a complex where your neighbors also have young kids. If you’re a party animal, you better not live in a place where half of the residents go to bed by 10. Generally people get along with other people like themselves, and you also get the opportunity to meet friendly neighbors like yourself. That can also be a huge benefit when you need someone to watch Fluffy for the weekend, which leads into my next point:
Know the Pet Rules
When apartment searching, find the places that fit well with your pet requirements if you have them, and then figure out what added costs there will be for owning a pet. In my opinion, most apartment complexes see these added costs as pure profit, as your cat will probably not incur more than $400 of damage over a year. Many people get away with not telling the apartment complex about the pets, which is usually a big risk, as they could fine you big money or even kick you out if they have a big waiting list. Usually it’s much easier get away with it with cats compared to dogs, as they never have to be let out. If you don’t have pets, know the pet rules anyway. Some apartments work pet costs into the leases of all residents.
Most importantly, trust what your friends have to say, as they will always be your most reliable source for apartment information. Even if you are set on a place, strongly reconsider if your friends have anything negative to say about things like management, apartment quality or neighborhood. When researching, find professional reviews of apartments if possible. User reviews, like ones on Google often come from apartment management, competitors, or crazy people. Your research can pay big dividends in the long run, as you will most likely either find the place you will stay in for many years, or find the place where you will spend the second half of your lease searching for a new place. Best of luck, and do your research!
- Image via jinkazamah
This article was provided by Mike Hall, a writer for Coldwell Banker Valley Brokers which provides houses for sale in Corvallis Oregon.