The excitement of finding the “perfect” apartment can often overshadow common sense and practicality, as many renters tend to focus on more superficial things than the big picture when choosing an apartment. While an on-site fitness center and beautiful crown moldings are always added perks when renting a place to call home, there are a series of essential questions you need to ask yourself before sitting down to sign a lease.
Can I really afford it?
As a rule of thumb, many apartment complexes ask that you make three times the cost of rent before they will agree to rent to you. If you make exactly three times the cost of rent, the landlord will deem you able to afford it, but that does not always leave you enough money to live on. Consider your other bills, such as utilities, car insurance, groceries, phone and cable, and ask yourself if adding the cost of rent to those bills will leave you with enough money for emergencies and luxuries. You may find that spending 1/3 of your total income on rent is simply out of your means.
Do the amenities meet my needs?
Maybe you are a parent and a washer and dryer is a necessity, or maybe you have a dog and a patio just won’t work. Compare the size and amenities of the apartment to your own essential needs to figure out if the apartment is a practical choice for you.
Will my furniture fit?
There is nothing worse than moving in to the apartment of your dreams only to find yourself posting your $3000 Italian leather sectional on Craigslist because it didn’t fit. Before signing a lease, ask if the apartment offers an interactive floorplan on their website (many newer apartments do) so that you can click and drag scale model furniture onto the plan to see if everything will fit.
How long do I see myself living here?
Maybe you just moved into town and need a short term place to say or maybe you are a college student looking for dependable housing for the next four years. Ask yourself if the apartment is somewhere you could see yourself living for as long as your situation needs you to.
How does the location compare to my needs?
Location is everything when it comes to an apartment. A bad neighborhood will likely have a high crime rate, making it a poor choice if you are moving in with kids. Likewise, an apartment five blocks from your school or work will save you commuting costs. Compare the area to other elements of your life, such as family, work and school and ask how well the location fits those needs.
Will I be proud or embarrassed to live here?
My first apartment was a bug invested dive known throughout the Denver area as the prime place for crime and drug deals. Needless to say, I was humiliated to even tell people where I lived in conversation. Ask yourself if the apartment complex will embarrass you or f it will be a place you love showing of to your friends and family. While this may seem materialistic, an apartment that you are embarrassed to live in will likely make you miserable and effect your emotional well being, while an apartment you are proud of will make you feel happier and more confident.