It’s time to move, and you need to look for a new apartment for rent. Do you know exactly what you want from it – location, size, price, planning, and equipment? Or are you open to any opportunity that looks better than the others? Do you care about the difference between gravity and pressure toilets, or are you good with whatever works? Regardless of that, there are always factors to consider as you’re about to rent a flat.
Location and Environment
It’s not enough to define the city or town where you want to rent an apartment. Districts also matter because if you live in a city, you always have some places to visit more frequently. Your work or business office, your relatives’ and friends’ homes, your favorite restaurants, gyms, cinemas – you name it. Sometimes it’s recommended to search within 10 miles from the place that matters the most to you. Still, you can also choose, for example, three of these places and do a little triangulation to find some approximately equidistant areas where to search (I hope these words weren’t too long).
Direct and Indirect Costs
As you see, the entry on Craigslist or any local board usually has the price you need to pay monthly to the landlord. Consider this basic price, but your expenses likely won’t end with it. There are utilities to pay, insurance, general maintenance, and sometimes even real estate tax. Sometimes the price is calculated to include these, but more often, it doesn’t.
There are other ways your rented apartment can affect your monthly expenses:
- Transportation expenses. If the route to the places you frequent is longer and trickier, you’ll lose more time and money to get there, no matter if you use a car or public transportation.
- Local prices. If the area you live in is inhabited by richer people, the prices everywhere, from boutiques to street vendors, will be higher.
- Missing furniture and equipment to add to your new home. Maybe the landlord has a good TV or a washing machine to lend, but it’s much more common for the tenant to take care of it.
Size and Planning
How much room do you need for yourself, and will you be there by yourself? If you want to share it with your girlfriend/boyfriend, you two will need more space than one person would. If it’s just a friend you’re going to share it with, each of you will lead their personal life, and it requires even more space than a couple would. But if you plan to live alone, the basic requirements (a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom, a corridor) will still remain. You may just fit ascetically into one room for all.
As for planning: if you are a home cooking fan, you will need a bigger kitchen, more appliances, and more space; if you prefer restaurants or food delivery, the kitchen doesn’t matter that much. If you work from home, you will need to arrange a decent working space with your computer or worktable and all the tools necessary around it. In a single-room apartment, this room needs to have enough place for sleeping, so it has to be even larger.
Furniture and Equipment
Usually, apartments for rent come with a basic furniture set. But what if there isn’t enough or, on the contrary, there’s too much of it? This is what you need to consider about it.
- There are basic requirements (a bed, a desk/computer table, a dining table, chairs, kitchen furniture, etc.) As for extras, like bookshelves (hardly your Kindle needs one), flower stands, or a piano, you can either add yours or remove the existing ones. All of this is negotiable.
- If you already have some furniture you want to take to the new place, you need to take all the measures to know whether you’ll be able to place all the items conveniently.
- There are types of equipment that require much more space than they take. The best example is gym equipment: workouts with a bench or a treadmill require more free space than taken by the item itself. If you got a collection of dumbbells, kettlebells, power bands, and mats during the lockdown type, it would make no sense without a dedicated area. The same applies if you’re into music or any other thing that requires some specialized equipment.
- By the way, about music. If so, you may need to reequip your walls with acoustic protection. Even if you don’t, hearing neighbors is not much of a pleasure. If it matters, discuss it with the landlord.
Terms and Conditions
If you like the apartment and feel ready to sign the contract, here is what to pay attention to in addition to the rental cost.
- What about paying the utilities? What are the prices? When is the monthly payday?
- Insurance and taxes. Who is paying them, and how?
- If there’s an urgent need for repair, who is it on?
- Can a renovation be done, and if so, how?
- What about the furniture and the equipment you may need to buy and then leave there?
All these questions should be raised before signing the contract. And you better have it checked by a lawyer or a professional broker. If any of these parts seem suspicious or unacceptable, negotiate, and if it fails, keep searching.
Other Things to Consider
Each case is unique, but some rather common recommendations may apply to your case as well. So, consider the following points:
- What about pets? Is the landlord pet-friendly? If yes, what are the requirements and the limitations?
- Natural lighting. It’s more important than it’s obvious.
- Potential issues with utilities.
- Neighbors. You better speak to them right on the spot.
- Cell signal reception. It would be a bad surprise to find your phone offline in the apartment you otherwise like.
Of course, there is more to flat renting, but a lot is written about these matters. It’s not a definitive guide but rather a reminder to read and refresh your mind when you start your flat hunting. We wish you a quick and satisfying search!