It isn’t easy to compare apartments. Every apartment is different and unique in their own ways.
However, you can search and find an affordable apartment for your family with the right effort and knowledge.
So, how do you compare the available apartment options in the real estate industry before you sign a lease agreement?
Here, we go through the different approaches of comparing apartments and finding the perfect one for you.
Below are the different ways to compare apartments to help identify the perfect one for you:
Lease Terms and Costs
When comparing different apartments, an important concern is how much it‘ll cost you.
Apart from the monthly rent, there are other expenses that you should also consider.
Below are some of the expenses:
- Late payment charges on rent
- Amenity fees
- Parking space payments
- Rent application fees
- Rent security deposits
- Non-refundable pet deposit fees
- Utilities included in the apartment
This is typically equivalent to one month to one and a half month’s worth of rent. The deposit will differ per apartment. It’s worth considering when making a comparison of different apartments.
We have seen the application fee vary anywhere from $25 to $200, and they are typically non-refundable. The fee will, however, vary with the price of an apartment. This is something you should consider while you search and make a comparison of different complexes.
Most pet-friendly units will require a pet deposit. We have seen this range from $50 to $1,000 per pet, and some of them are non-refundable.
While doing an apartment search or comparison, utilities should be among your top consideration. Utilities in an apartment include water, electricity, and gas. Some apartments include utilities in their rent, while others keep them separate.
No apartment search and comparison will be complete without considering the amenity fees. It includes fees related to gyms, pools, carport parking, etc.
Apart from the financial terms, you should ensure that the lease terms work well with your lifestyle.
For example, ask yourself whether pets are allowed in your apartment or not. Make sure that you can also answer the following questions:
- Will the landlord allow your relatives or friends to move into your apartment unit?
- How long would you like to stay in the apartment?
- Are you allowed to sublet the apartment?
Consider the Neighborhood and Location
Here, you should consider how the neighborhood and location of an apartment affects your stay.
In some cases, living closer to public transportation, restaurants, attractions, nightlife, and work could be worth the smaller apartment or rent hike.
Selecting a location out of the city may be perfect if you value family-friendliness, an escape from hustle and bustle, easy access to freeways, and ample green space. Also, apartments in the city outskirts could have a lower price, and they often offer more square footage.
The location of your apartment could also affect the true cost of living there. For instance, if you stay next to a grocery store, you won’t have to eat out as much. Or, an area with well-connected bike paths may eliminate the need for rideshares, public transportation, and cars.
Consider Apartment Safety Features
Safety features must also be considered while comparing apartments. You should always feel safe, at all times, in your apartment.
Here, you should consider both in-apartment and building safety features such as:
- Gated entrances
- Outside lights
- Fire extinguishers outside and inside the building
- Emergency exits
- Deadbolt locks
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Smoke detectors
Compare the Community Amenities
There are amenities, such as a fitness center, that reduce some apartment costs. They can also make a choice become clearer when comparing apartments.
Consider the important amenities, along with the ones you might never use, in an apartment:
- Barbecue areas
- Gated community
- Bike racks
- Secure parking garage
- Dog washing station
If you feel like you can live without amenities, selecting an apartment at a lower price may be the best option for you.
Compare In-Unit Features and Layout
When you want to compare two apartments, the layout of the apartment is very crucial.
Below are the things to consider:
The In-Unit Laundry
A laundry unit in your apartment might end up saving you money and time. The access and ease of laundry, instead of spending time in a laundromat, is something you should consider while comparing apartments.
Large Patio Area or Balcony
Whether it’s your pets or family that need some fresh air, a balcony or patio is very important.
Hardwood Floors vs. Carpet
If you have pets, a hardwood floor is easier to clean, and may be more desirable. However, a carpet is warmer and more comfortable, especially on cold days.
Window Units vs. Central A/C
Central A/C is necessary if you stay in a mild climate. A fan and window unit is probably sufficient in most other climates.
Storage Space and Closet
Which apartments provide more space? You should compare the storage space, empty areas, and closets.
If you want to move into an apartment with a roommate or family, a dual vanity sink can keep the peace.
When you’re comparing apartments, you should consider the appliances. Updated energy-efficient appliances could keep your kitchen appealing and reduce your bills.
Compare the Apartment Floors
The apartment floor that you select will affect how you compare apartments. The top floor normally provides the best views, but it is typically also the hottest in an apartment.
Rent might also be expensive for the views alone, even without extra amenities and space.
The bottom floor is usually less expensive, and it is always easier with families and pets. With that said, you may miss having a view and feel less secure with this floor.
In our opinion, the middle floors are the most desirable options. They have a good balance between layout and amenities.
How to Achieve a Helpful Comparison
Now that you understand the things you are going to find, how will you apply that information?
Identify What You Want and What You Need in an Apartment
Various things in an apartment will be amazing to have. They include luxury items that are very easy to market by apartment owners.
However, in most cases, these items are typically things you want, and not the things you need.
Therefore, you must have your requirements laid out clearly, including enough space for a home office, distance/location to work, and school district.
Separate the things you want, from those that you need.
Have a Hierarchy of Priorities
What’s more essential to you? Is it having a washer/dryer unit or being closer to your place of work?
If you want to make difficult decisions easily, you should have an outright priority list in order.
Come Up with a List of Every Apartment You’re Looking At
You should make a big list if you already have visited several places and you’re ready to decide. For instance, you can have the apartments you’ve looked at in rows, and the different features in the columns.
Have a checkmark where every apartment meets your criteria. When you finish, it should be clear which apartment is best for you.