Looking for an apartment involves some research. In fact, there is no way around it if you want to find a great place to live. Though this task may seem a tad daunting, there is no need to panic.
There are a variety of ways in which you can make apartment hunting less stressful. For starters, narrow your search to a specific area, and don’t forget to make the hunt fun. A great way to make apartment shopping more enjoyable is to enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member. With some assistance, you can go over the pros and cons quickly. Also, visiting prospective apartment homes in person helps to further focus your search.
Sure, in this day and age, you can do just about everything via cellphone or computer—think virtual tours and online chats, which allow you to apartment shop from the comfort of your couch. Though these are helpful tools for renters, you should definitely consider looking beyond online listings, at least for the top contenders.
Moreover, in addition to having IRL fun along the way, there are a few more apartment shopping tips to keep in mind once you’ve narrowed down your options. If, by chance, you have already successfully limited your search to Farmington Hills, then here are five keys to remember while looking for affordable apartments to rent in the area.
Be Realistic With Your Overall Budget
First and foremost, you need to be realistic with your budget. Don’t fall in love with the penthouse apartment if you cannot afford it. Instead, find a place that fits your needs without exceeding your budget. Remember, you need to be able to put down the security deposit and first month’s rent (possibly last month’s rent as well). Additionally, there may be pet fees, utilities, carport/parking fees, and more. A realistic budget should be able to accommodate those costs.
Furthermore, you should still be able to afford your current lifestyle while renting. Another way to ensure you stay within your budget, that many people tend to overlook, is looking for an apartment in an area you can afford. For instance, if the nearest grocery store is a fancy gourmet market, and you don’t shop there, or it isn’t economical, then that’s a problem. Similarly, if you find yourself driving to the inexpensive side of town for everyday conveniences, then you might have gone over your budget without even realizing it.
The good news is that there are several reasonably priced, quality apartments available in Farmington Hills like Botsford Place Terrace Apartments. Here, you can easily find contemporary 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments that are competitively priced, well-kept, and near affordable conveniences.
Quality is King or Queen
Speaking of high-quality apartments, your search should also focus on the overall quality of the apartment and its community. Of course, you may be thinking that you need to pay more for a Grade-A apartment, but that’s simply not true. You don’t need to break the bank to enjoy a first-rate apartment and it’s amenities. All you need is a good management company or landlord.
To ensure you are looking at quality apartments, you should visit the place in person. While there, take note of the apartment’s general condition—helpful tip: request to see an unrented unit, not just the show unit. If there are any cosmetic issues, they should be minor and already on their way to being fixed.
Along those same lines, it is highly recommended that you take a look around the entryway or hallway of your potential apartment complex. If these areas aren’t being kept-up (cleaned, vacuumed, free of debris, secure, etc.), this could be cause for concern. Common areas should also be well lit, and shared facilities should be working, i.e. if the pool hasn’t been open for the last five years, that’s a red flag.
Other issues to look out for include broken AC-units, lead paint, water damage, broken fixtures or appliances, electrical problems, or health and safety concerns.
Ask About Apartment Policies
It’s helpful to keep yourself apprised of all policies. For instance, many apartment complexes allow pets; however, there tend to be some conditions. Frequently, these conditions mean paying a pet deposit (sometimes this is non-refundable), monthly pet fees/rent, and adhering to a variety of limitations (number of pets, breed, weight, etc.).
You should also find out what exactly is or isn’t included with your potential apartment. Take the issue of utility costs. Most apartments come with a few utilities included. Nonetheless, it is rarely all of the utility costs. So, don’t assume that just because water and air-conditioning are included in the rent that gas, sewer, garbage, or electricity are covered too. Ultimately, your landlord should clearly state in the lease agreement what costs are covered or included in the rent.
Another standard apartment policy to inquire about is your use and enjoyment. Often landlords vary when it comes to allowing satellite dishes, grills on patios/balconies, storage, painting of walls, parking, and the number of guests permitted at any given time. As a result, you should always ask upfront what exactly is allowed and make sure it is again clearly stated in the lease agreement.
Read the Lease Agreement
As suggested, the lease agreement should be informative and something that you should take very seriously. No one loves reading a lease, but it is in your best interest to do so. You should know the terms of your agreement and the type of lease you are signing. Furthermore, if you have any questions before signing, it never hurts to have an experienced professional look over the said agreement.
Overall, your lease should be very straightforward, legal, and cover all significant policies. One policy, in particular, that should be laid out in your rental contract, is subletting. In the era of Airbnb, people are even more open to someone staying in their home for the summer. Thus, if you see yourself taking off for an extended period or a work project, you should ask about subletting.
Other items that should be clearly stated in your lease are who is responsible for maintenance and repairs, what date the rent is due, the late fees, how many roommates or occupants are allowed, and whether your deposit is refundable. Also, peruse your lease for answers regarding parking questions, key replacement fees, and the actual rental rate (if you are leasing under a promotion/discount of some kind).
Explore the Amenities
Finally, the more exciting part of apartment shopping—trying out the amenities. Often, included perks are the icing on the cake when it comes to apartment living. In general, there are a variety of amenities that come with apartment living like gated communities, security, package reception when you’re not home, and covered parking. Some complexes even offer gyms, saunas, pools, playgrounds, parks, and a common area that can be reserved for special events.
However, that’s not where the fun begins and ends. Fantastic apartment amenities also include features like new appliances, balconies/patios, an in-unit washer/dryer, a dishwasher, an oversized bathroom, and so on. Lastly, the surrounding area and all that it has to offer are added bonuses.
If your future apartment is around the corner from your place of employment, near your gym, or just down the street from your favorite restaurant, these are definitely pros. Ultimately, you and your budget will decide what your amenities look like, but it never hurts to explore before you move-in. So, schedule a showing and ask about both the on-site and off-site amenities.