There are so many factors to think about when shopping for an apartment that it's easy to overlook or forget some. Like many things in life, though, it's the small issues that can mean the difference between finding the apartment of your dreams and leasing a nightmare you can't wait to run away from. Here are two minor things you should check before choosing an apartment for rent to prevent them from becoming major problems later on.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Having an in-unit washer and dryer may seem like a great find, because these convenient appliances can save you a lot of time and money. However, these and other appliances can quickly become a problem when you're on a tight budget if they are not energy efficient machines. Although it may seem unfathomable that an apartment today would not have energy efficient appliances, there are still a few landlords out there who are just too cheap to replace their ancient appliances with something more modern.
Most energy efficient appliances have Energy Star labels on them. If the ones in your apartment don't, just ask the landlord how old they are. Washer, dryers, refrigerators, and other appliances started carrying the Energy Star label in the late 1990s, so any appliances less than 10 to 15 years old should be okay. However, you can quickly look up the make and model online using your phone to double check. Using energy-efficient appliances can save you $100 or more on your energy bill, so it's worth making the extra effort.
Rules for Making Alternations
Everyone likes to customize their apartments to suit their needs. Before you start comparing paint swatches, though, it's important to ask the landlord about the type of alternations you can make in the apartment. Some landlords are very indulgent and let tenants do what they want as long as they don't cause any structural damage and/or the apartment can be restored to its previous condition. Other landlords are very strict and won't let you put so much as nail in the wall.
Most landlords, however, fall somewhere in between. Therefore, it's critical to check with him or her before making any enhancements. You should also verify whether the changes you make will affect your security deposit, and be sure to get any agreements you make with the landlord in writing to prevent any misunderstandings later on.
For more tips on locating a great apartment or help finding something in your area, contact a real estate agent.