Looking at apartments without furniture can be tricky – it’s not as easy to guesstimate space as one might think. And then there’s the whole issue of sizing up landlords, neighborhoods, and how you’ll turn this random apartment you just saw for the very time today into a home.
But you can do it while keeping your sanity, with a lil help. Deep breath time.
First, consider printing out our Apartment Hunting checklist and bringing it with you to each apartment you view. You’ll likely see at least 4-5 places if not more and apartments tend to blend together after awhile. This way, you’ll have written down all their differences (our checklist covers everything from “plusses” and “minuses” to an amenities checklist, building/community features and more).
Second, bring a friend with you even if you’re searching for a studio. A second opinion is priceless.
Also, I highly recommend bringing a camera and taking photos to further distinguish the apartment options after you leave. If there’s a particular feature you are unsure about, it’s also good to get it on film (er, digital) so you can ask other friends their thoughts. It’s often helpful to bounce ideas of other people who will give unbiased opinions.
Think of it this way – this isn’t a one-time purchase. You are selecting a place to live for 365 days a year and you might, then, want to extend the lease. Being careful is important.
Beyond our checklist, consider a few additional questions that I’ve found to be helpful through the years:
- Is there construction nearby? 7AM noise on the weekdays/weekends stinks!
- If the apartment is on the ground floor, do you feel safe enough?
- Is the place insect prone? Do a careful inspection to make sure there are no holes in the wall/paneling
- How reliable does the landlord look? Do you think he’ll fix things when they break?
- How thin are the walls? Um, seriously, bang on them if you need to. MAJORLY important!
- Can you hear your potential new-neighbors?
- Is there natural light? Surprisingly VERY important to good health and apt happiness
- Are you near a noisy bar/restaurant?
- Can you have subletters? You never know what the future holds…
Checking out the nitty, gritty basics are also important ( a la do the windows close completely, does the door squeak etc). To help you out, peruse our 10 Items to Check Before You Move In Checklist!