Be an informed almost-home owner!
When your parents insisted that you start paying for your own phone bill, you might have thought you were stepping into adulthood. And while you definitely were, it was a small step forward and there are bigger things you need to start considering. Like, you know, buying your own place—easy peasy right? Not really.
There are so many aspects that go into choosing the right place, beyond the rent, the commute to and from work and the amenities included. Don’t make the wrong choice just because you overlooked a few things; this list could be the line between a great experience and feeling like you’re stuck under a contract.
Check out your neighbors
You probably won’t be dining with them on the weekends or anything, but it is a good idea to scope out your neighbors. No, I don’t mean making sure they don’t secretly grow weed on their balcony. Have a little chat with someone you come across when you check out the apartment, get a real idea of what living in that space is like. Besides, you never know what you might need them for.
Size up your landlord
A great apartment with a great deal is ideal, but this might all go down the drain if your landlord isn’t someone you can get along with. Check if they live within the building or if their own apartment is close by and weigh out if they seem like the type to just let you be or if they’ll nitpick everything you bring in, from the couch to the television?
The number of shared walls you have
For the love of all things good, do not forget to ask which of your walls share walls with which rooms with your neighbors. Just imagine having to share your living room wall with the bedroom wall of a newly-wed couple. Imagine sharing your kitchen wall with someone else’s bathroom wall. Kind of awkward and kind of gross, right? These things can only be forgiven if the walls are thick enough—so ask about that, too.
Check the plumbing, open all the drawers and cabinets and turn on the AC
Treat the apartment like someone you’re dating; don’t just consider how things look, you need to see if everything works properly. Check the color of the water that flows through every faucet and shower, push the flush button on all the toilets, open every possible drawer and cabinet, check the drainage and check the AC—anything that comes with the apartment needs to be double checked.
Look at the electric outlets
Electric outlets are of utmost importance and because you can’t just install them as you please, check out the placements in every room. If you’re the kind of person that uses their phone during bedtime, make sure you have one near where you’re going to place your bed. Extension goods are handy and all, but they can be a major eyesore.
Droppings, smells and discoloration
Yes, we’re going there. Check the un-seeable things by checking out droppings, weird smells and discoloration. Droppings will tell you if you’re likely to be visited by unwanted guests, the smells will tell you about mold or the big hairy dog next door and the discoloration will tell you if there’s something wrong with the structure. You do not want to live with these things or be responsible for them—trust us.
You might not be the type to need a pool, laundry room and gym, but definitely check out the facilities nearby if your building doesn’t offer them. Also, very important: Convenience stores.
Don’t let the excitement get to your head. Finding an apartment is a real commitment and you need to be happy before you sign those contracts and hand your money over!
Art Alexandra Lara