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Experienced Apartment Searchers ... tips?

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    Contrary to popular belief, I do still exist on this earth. I've been MIA working on school work, working on work, and doing work on working ... oh, and of course, driving the tC.

    Anyhoo ... I'm in the market for an apartment but really have no idea what to look for with the exception of the things I know I need personally. Right now I'm looking for a one bedroom apartment, I don't need a lot of space ... I grew up in a 10' by 12' room until I moved into the basement at like 17 so whatever ... with my only stipulation being that I have a private garage for the tC ... or at minimum some form of covered/underground parking to protect it from the elements/potential vandals when I'm not driving her. Other than that, what else should I be looking for/out for?

    I've done some online legwork already, but I figured a bunch of you are already a lot more experienced in this than I am so I thought I'd see if anyone has some advice or recommendations to get pointed in the right direction.
    It depends on your price range. I have found townhouses to be a better fit for me and they usually also are the ones offering garages and or covered parking. I have rented for 10 years now and just have not found being stuck to one house a good thing. My wife and I jump around the dayton area yearly to different townhouse complexes keeps life different.
    Like rsworks said, it depends on your price range. Around my area, there are apartment complexes that offer garages for an extra 100-200.00 a month. Keep an eye out for utilities as well. Some places make you pay for everything but others don't. Some even offer to pay for some and you pay the rest, find out from the leasing office roughly how much that is a month.

    go to www.apartmentratings.com when you find a location that you like. There are people on there who have posted their opinions and/or expierences in lots of places. I found that site while living in my last apartment and it pretty much added up to what I have expierenced or have seen.

    You may want to do a walk around of the property by yourself and if you see someone who lives in the area ask them how the area is and how the staff at the office is. Tenants will always be more helpful then the leasing office cause the leasing office will BS you just to get a lease from you.

    Make sure you look at an apartment first..lots of people rent the apartment without looking at it first and they regret it when they move in. find out if the apartments will be cleaned before you move in or not. My community cleans the apartment before we move in. I know back in NJ the apartments would never be cleaned by the leasing office. You would have to do that yourself.

    Find out about things you can and cannot do at the complex/community (ie: wash cars in the parking lot, leave guests cars in certain spots til a certain hour, etc). Some places have restrictions on lots of things, some don't. If you're the type that likes to work on cars and what not, find out if thats allowed. Where I live, we're not allowed to work on cars or even wash them in the lots. And if a non-resident is parked in a non-guest spot, they'll be towed after 7pm. The last complex I lived in, they didn't tow until 10pm during the week and they didn't tow on weekends.

    Go around the area at night and see how it is, even in the afternoon after school lets out. See if the area is filled with kids. I personally don't like living around lots of kids cause they get out of hand sometimes and mess with cars or make too much noise and sh*t. At night you can see if its really a good area or not. If you see too many people hanging on the corner or in dark areas then thats a sign to be careful. Especially if you have a girl living with you. I personally wouldn't want my girl walking by herself knowing there are guys always hanging outside.

    Make sure you read the lease and find out the info on breaking the lease. some places require a 60 Day notice some require 30. its always good to know this especially if you're in the military.

    i think thats enough from me..i'm just rambling..lmao. Good Luck!!
    OH and you can sometimes benefit from using companies who do apartment searches for you. I used www.apartmentsearch.com one time and they were helpful. YOU tell them what you want and they look for you and tell you what areas are available to rent in. They'll even tell you if they are offering any specials for the month. Its a good service to use especially if you don't have time to look around for yourself.
    Nolte this might be just a little off topic though but try to make sure you visit where you want to rent. My friend just moved to florida and rented an apartment. One week later some one tries to break in his house when watching TV. Cops show up and gives me one piece of advice: "Get out of here as fast as you can!"
    So now my friend is stuck 7 months in his lease. Basically he picked the worst neighborhood and didn't realize it....
    Awesome, this has already been very helpful.

    On the comment about how much I can spend, I'm trying to stay under $700 with some sort of utilities coverage. I've found a few places that meet that requirement.

    Feel free to chime in if you guys think of anything else I should look out for ... I'd like to be as prepared as possible before I go look at anything first hand.
    Ask about the security deposit, make sure that it is refundable. I live in a college town and I found that renting in a 4 plex or duplex is much better than apartments and cost close to the same amount. I use to live in a 4 plex in the most affluent neighborhood in Lexington, had a covered carport, a covered balcony, washer/dryer free to use (BIG PLUS) and about 800 square feet for $550.
    When i was looking, i found it hard to find a closed garage. Also ammenities and FREE utilities with the rent is something to look for.

    One thing i realized was that I WILL NEVER own the apartment no matter how many years you pay for it. So instead im just waiting again and looking for a decent condo i can afford with a closed garage of course.


    Good luck on you new home.
    I'm not overly concerned about my own laundry facility or places for car washing/maintenance. My job is near home now so I'll won't be going anywhere too far from the parent's washer, dryer, and driveway should I need them badly enough. I'm not ruling out that I'll need those things eventually though. It would be childish to think that I could leech off the parents forever.

    Underground and detached garages are pretty common for apartments in my area (at least from what I've found online). The trick is going to be finding the utilities it looks like.

    Anyway, I'm going to go scope out some of my top picks thus far on monday morning. Though unless I find something reeeeally good, I'm waiting until late winter/early spring to actually move anywhere so I have tons of time to look and decide.

    I've looked at quad/duplexes but all the ones in my area are in the "less desirable" areas that I wouldn't walk through, let alone live in. And they're pretty run down. Though it's a thought.

    Again, thanks for all the tips.
    Small things to look out for too:

    When going into rooms, look for all electrical outlets. When I moved into my first apartment, the living room had only 1 electrical outlet, because it was an old building. I was pissed at myself for not even having thought about it.

    Make sure the toilet flushes well. Seriously. It's important. Check all water faucets and stuff, naturally.

    Ask if they have cable modem accessibility in the apartments. Some old buildings have shoddy wiring that makes it difficult to get a cable modem to work.

    What someone else said... find some tenants that live in the building and ask them what -they- think about the building. When I lived in an apt I had a couple people ask me before they moved in and I gave it to them straight. It's really useful.

    Also, if heat is included in the rent, check the thermostat. I know this is weird, but in my apt building since heat was included in the rent my landlord had a governor sort of thing on the thermostat where it'd only go up to 70 degrees. It was lame.

    HTH,
    -Umbrae
    Just thought of something while looking at the apartments I'll be looking at tomorrow ... one covers heat and water ... one covers heat and electricity. I know it's going to vary based on a lot of factors but what would you all say is the more expensive utility? Water or Electricity?
    Nolte wrote:
    Just thought of something while looking at the apartments I'll be looking at tomorrow ... one covers heat and water ... one covers heat and electricity. I know it's going to vary based on a lot of factors but what would you all say is the more expensive utility? Water or Electricity?


    Electricity is alot more than water... and if you run into a place that has natural gas heat STAY AWAY!!
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