8 Things to Consider When Renting an Apartment | The Light Lab

8 Things to Consider When Renting an Apartment

Finding a new apartment is an exciting venture where views and neighborhoods can change your entire perspective. But how do you go about choosing which one to rent?

Work and lifestyle are major points of focus. With a little insight as to what your future abode may look like, use these factors to choose the best apartment for you and your family.

1. Neighborhood Characteristics

Whether you’re a family or a single person, the look and feel of the neighborhood you want to settle in will vary greatly.

Seeking an apartment that’s family friendly may including finding one that has facilities such as a game room and a swimming pool. You might also look to see if there are trails around the apartment that can lead to other parks and play areas.

You also want to check out whether the apartment complex is zoned to your child’s school or the school you want to enroll in.

For a single person or those without children, a neighborhood that’s more walkable might be most appealing: a place where you can stroll down the street to grocery shop on foot or walk to a local coffee house.

Or perhaps a social group you want to join meets near your new place. By landing in an area with others your age, you’re more likely to find like-minded individuals and a community.

8 Things to Consider When Renting an Apartment | The Light Lab

2. Proximity to Work

You need to map how far your apartment will be from work. Enjoying a new apartment will be more difficult when you have a long commute. Be conservative and see if you can find a place that keeps your commute within a doable distance.

You might also consider how far your apartment is to a bus stop or light rail line. Utilizing public transport could be one way to get out of your car, and enjoy commuting in a more environmentally friendly and less stressful way.

3. Apartment and Community Amenities

Does your apartment include ceiling fans, a decent stove, and a dishwasher? Is the property protected by gates, and is there a security guard on duty in case you come home late at night? Are the floors carpeted or hardwood?

Decide what is most important to you, and where your priorities lie when looking at the listings. Like houses, they can vary greatly from place to place.

8 Things to Consider When Renting an Apartment | The Light Lab

4. Parking

Find out whether or not you have assigned parking. This is a big factor when signing a lease on an apartment, as competing for a parking space each day, especially on grocery day, can be stressful if you’re unable to park near your staircase.

Also find out whether you’re parking under cover or out in the open. If your car is new, you may want to see about paying that extra for covered parking to prevent sun and weather damage.

5. Additional Apartment Fees

Find out whether your monthly rent includes cable and any of your other utilities. See whether you have your own options for who your electricity provider might be, and if it’s an open choice as to who you go with, shop around for the best deals.

Also, find out whether the gym at the complex is included with your rent, and if there is a club house, whether or not it costs money to reserve it for a future gathering.

Some complexes will want first and last months’ rent upfront, so be aware of this and budget ahead of time.

8 Things to Consider When Renting an Apartment | The Light Lab

6. Outdoor Lounging Options 

Do you love your plants? Wanting to turn your new apartment balcony into an edible sanctuary? Enjoy reading a book in the sun?

Find out if you’re able to select which apartment you end up in, or at least let your leasing manager know that you want as much sun exposure as possible. See if you can have a balcony that faces west as you’ll likely receive 6 hours of sunlight each day, perfect for growing flowers and herbs.

7. Pet Policy

If one of your family members is a dog or cat, you’ll want to check what their pet policy is.

Some apartments restrict the allowance of pets, while others allow you to have them, only if you put down a deposit first or pay pet rent. Ask questions and don’t sneak around about it. Paying fines for ruined carpet later down the line isn’t something you want to deal with.

8. Contingency Options

Life can take unexpected turns, so find out what it would require should you unfortunately need to break your lease. Find out if subleasing is an option, the penalties for breaking a lease and any other arrangements that could be made if you need to move elsewhere.

When you finally choose your apartment, sign up for an electricity plan with First Choice Power and take control of your electricity. We offer a variety of plans, including prepaid electricity, so you can find the perfect one for your new home.

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Born in Australia, Ebony has been in Texas long enough to consider herself a Texan-Aussie. Ebony has been writing for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, for more than 10 years. When she's not writing she's building quilts, growing her own food, or camping with her family somewhere far from the sounds of the city.