before you sign a lease

Of course, you apartment search is a lot easier now with sites like Trulia and Zillow lining things up for ease of searching. There’s only one thing that these services cannot do for you: it can’t go to the apartment or the house and check it out for you. There are also aspects of the place that most property managers just aren’t going to put in the listing, but you might not think to check. Here are a few.

can-you-hear-me-now

1. Check your connections.

Walk around the property with your cell phone in hand and see how many bars you get. This is particularly important if you’re like a lot of people now and don’t plan on or have a landline. You might also want to be sure that the kind of internet you want or need is available. This pertains more to rural areas, and many places have caught up with the times: but quite a few haven’t yet. So make sure you’re not getting stuck with an ISP you won’t like.

2. Check your travel.

If you plan on living urban, you might not plan on driving a lot. So, if you do think you will be walking or even biking, it may be a good idea to make sure everything you need is within reach. Also check out the public transit options. You can also always pop the address in to Walk Score to check even deeper.

mice

Of course, if you’ve got wild night clubs across the street AND mice, you’re really in for a time of it.

3. Investigate the nightlife.

I don’t mean this so much for your social life as I do your sleep. During the day, it might just look like a couple of storefronts, no big deal. Then at night when everything comes alive, you might be dealing with drunken revelry. If that’s your thing, great. If it isn’t, it’s good to know this before you sign a lease.

4. Check for bugs.

You don’t have to get your friend’s dad who works in the CIA to help you with this one. I mean, the gross kind of bugs. Look around for signs of fly problems. If it’s the cooler months, you won’t notice the bugs themselves but you will see small black splats here and there in certain places. You’ll also want to check for signs of roaches. You can look around and see signs of mice, as well. Look in the closets for droppings, in the cupboards and in the drawers. The manager is legally obligated to tell you if there has been a bedbug problem: so ask.

shower

You don’t want that. Nobody wants that.

5. Check the water pressure.

That might sound like a weird one until you’ve been stuck in an apartment with horrible water pressure. Not a big deal, you say? Try rinsing with a drizzle. Worse, make sure that the hot water heater is maintained and doesn’t have issues. You should also check the HVAC systems to be sure you’re not freezing in the winter and overheating in the summer.

These are just five things that you might not think to check when you’re looking for an apartment. One piece of advice for anyone looking for a new place is to pay careful attention to detail. Remember, you’re going to be signing on to stay here for the foreseeable future. It’s probably best if the little things are in order.

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Kurt Kroeck has written articles in real estate, law, and art related niches for a number of high profile publications. He is an avid WW2 re-enactor, artist in graphite, charcoal, and digital media. He volunteers in animal rescue and enjoys spending time with his children.

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