Moving into your first apartment is a big adventure with promises of new beginnings and clean slates. But if you don’t weigh your options thoughtfully during your apartment hunting process, your new opportunity to gain independence can quickly become a nightmare.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can keep an eye out for when you’re looking not only for your first apartment but any apartment you move into. That said, here’s what to look for when moving into your first (or next) apartment.
Check for deadbolt locks and other security features
You can always set up a wireless home security system once you move into your apartment. But you want to be sure your new home will have, at the very least, the first line of security.
That said, when you’re touring an apartment, check for deadbolt locks on the doors, secure locks on the windows, and locks on the outside of the apartment building. You might feel self-conscious checking for these features, but an apartment is a big investment and you need to be sure you can feel secure living there.
Remember to check for pet-friendly features
If you’re moving into your first apartment with a pet, you’re not alone. Up to 68% of households in the U.S. have at least one pet.
But if you’re moving into an apartment with your furry friend, it’s important that you’re taking them into account when you’re looking around your potential home. A puppy may be able to handle the steps of a high-rise, but an older dog will need to take the elevator. Likewise, your cat needs windows where they can look out to keep them from getting bored.
Check for fencing, too, if the apartment has a pool. Pool enclosure legal codes require fences to be at least four feet tall. This helps to keep dogs and little kids from falling in by accident.
Consider the age of the appliances
It can be tricky to determine just how old an appliance is when you’re not a specialist. But generally, you can tell when a fridge or oven has seen better days.
Older appliances are likely to eat into your energy bills because they’re not Energy Star certified to make efficient use of your electrical.
Older appliances also mean that your landlord may soon update them; 58% of homeowners say they plan to spend money to improve their property this year. But this is both a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, if your landlord replaces your old appliances, you get new appliances to work with. On the other hand, your rent is likely to go up in the next year to pay for those expenses.
Consider the rent and other expenses
It’s important that’s you’re considering more than rent when you’re looking for your first apartment. You’ll also be paying for utilities, gas for your commute, and grocery delivery services if you’re far from the store.
Always call the electric company to determine how much the average electric bill is for your potential apartment. Don’t trust the landlord to tell you the average cost no matter how nice they seem.
It’s important to keep an eye out for both red flags and green flags when you’re looking for an apartment. A nice landlord can easily distract you from a bad neighborhood, and a gorgeous bay window can easily distract you from an ill-fitted shower. That said, by looking for the items above on your next apartment tour, you can reduce your risk of moving into an apartment that’s secretly a nightmare.
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