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How To Choose A Great Apartment

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How To Find The Apartment You Really Want


With the state of the current housing market, renting an apartment starts to seem like a better option all the time. When you rent an apartment, two of the major benefits include greater affordability and less maintenance. Since people don't pay property taxes or mortgage insurance when they rent apartments, you eliminate those costs entirely when you rent. And because apartment rentals are usually maintained by the owner, property manager or maintenance team, not only do you get to skip the headache of fixing broken appliances and damaged property yourself, but you also don't have to pay the costs associated with them either.


Other benefits of apartments frequently include not having to shovel or maintain the lawn, sidewalk, driveway or parking area, as well as not having to wait until your home sells before you move. While landlords generally offer initial leases for a term of one year, many times the lease becomes month-to-month after the first year runs out. Also, unless your lease specifies otherwise, you can usually sublet your apartment with your landlord's permission if you decide to move before your lease runs out. Some buildings also have special amenities for tenants such as a workout room, pool, or courtyard for tenants.


Before you begin your search, take into consideration what you want out of your new residence and pay special attention to the things you don't want as well. This will help you find the most appropriate apartment for you. If you love to cook and entertain, you probably will want a large kitchen and dining area, and you wouldn't be happy with a small kitchen area with little to no counter space or seating. If you crave a bathtub to luxuriate in, you would probably hate a 10 by 10 bathroom with only a stand-up shower. Also consider whether your apartment needs to have 1, 2, 3 or more bedrooms.


It may help to make a checklist of what's important to you. Think about layout, amenities, neighborhood, cost and proximity to your workplace, stores and other places you visit frequently. If you live in an area with lots of traffic gridlock or a long commute, living close enough to walk or bike to them can be a huge plus. Know what you can afford so you can find apartments in your price range. One popular recommendation puts the cost of rent at 30 percent of your monthly income.


Once you know what you want, begin the process of finding an apartment for rent that meets your needs. You can find apartment listings in a variety of different places, such as online classifieds, print apartment catalogs, and websites. For example, one website that lists apartments for rent is ApartmentListings.com. Listings can usually help you weed out the apartments you don't want. If you're looking for a 3 bedroom apartment, you can nix a listing that specifies a 1 br right away without having to go out and see it.


When you begin looking at apartments for rent, take note of things like surrounding area noise, such as airports, trains or lots of automobile traffic. See if the neighbors seem like people you want to live next to every day. Look at the windows and scenery, and understand the difference between older buildings and more modern ones. Older buildings will likely need more repairs, get more bugs and get dirty and dusty faster. But on the upside, they frequently have more character than modern apartments. Decide what's important to you. Check for structural soundness of the building and make sure that sinks and appliances work properly. It helps to have someone else evaluate the apartments with you. Find a way to keep the apartments you look at organized, such as by taking notes or photos, so that you can refer back to them later and remember which is which.


Part of the final process of getting your new apartment might include filling out an application so that the landlord can check your background and approve you before offering you a lease. Read and have someone look over your lease before you sign, such as an attorney. While some landlords use a standard lease full of typical requirements and responsibilities, others insert their own clauses or write their own leases altogether.


Watch out for added responsibilities like having to do your own maintenance or repairs, and look for clauses specifying the number of pets, occupants and guests you're allowed. Sometimes landlords will prohibit you from having overnight guests or additional occupants. Other times they may have clauses stating that additional tenants or pets will require an increase in the amount of monthly rent or the amount of your security deposit or both. Additionally, you want to be sure that the apartment is free from damages and dangers before signing a lease validating that the apartment is clean and and in good condition.

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