Moving is never a fun experience, no matter how anxious you might be to get out of the place where you currently live. Some people, however, make poor decisions in an attempt to get the apartment hunting process out of the way as quickly as possible. You probably already have a list of wants/needs for your new place, like number of bedrooms and location, but here are ten things you might not have considered that you really need to think about before saying yes to any apartment you see.
1. Moving Costs
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a group of friends to help you move, you’re likely going to have to hire movers – and this can be expensive. Factors like distance from your current place and staircases can affect cost.
2. Tax Rates
If you live in a state where local taxes are collected, moving just one town over could mean huge savings (or huge increases) to how much you pay in taxes every year. Be aware of these rates.
Street parking might not seem like a big deal if you love the apartment, but you may think different when it’s 10 PM after a day of working overtime and you’re circling the block for the seventh time. Be aware of parking challenges, especially if your family has multiple vehicles or likes to entertain often.
4. Hidden Costs
Just because the rent sounds good doesn’t mean you can afford the place. Often, especially with apartment buildings, there are hidden costs like non-refundable pet fees, pet rent, credit check fees, and administrative fees. You should also ask how much you can expect to pay in utilities. An older home that isn’t efficient may break the bank on heating and cooling costs.
5. Outdoor Work
Don’t wait until after you sign the lease to discover that you’re in charge of mowing the lawn or shoveling the sidewalk. Talk about these tasks with your landlord first so you’re aware of the outside work that will be required of you.
6. Guest Policy
If you like to have out-of-town visitors often, make sure you know the guest policy. In many states, a guest who stays longer than 15 days is considered a resident, which might be in violation of your lease. But even on shorter visits, guest might be in violation of your lease or face challenges like having no where to park in the residents’ lot.
7. Road Conditions
You’re probably already aware of the roads near any places you’re considering in terms of distance to work or school. But what are these roads like during rush hour? Are there alternative routes in emergency situations? Do the roads nearby get cleared quickly during winter storms?
8. Landlord Relationship
Lastly, even if a broker or staff member shows you an apartment, always meet the landlord before you sign the lease. Find out where he or she lives and how long they’ve been a landlord. If possible, talk to other tenants to get a sense for what the landlord is like. A bad relationship with your landlord can make life very stressful.
This guest post is from Allison with ChangeOfAddress.org.