“Home Sweet Home” is cross stitched on your grandma’s decorative pillows for good reason. Nothing is more comforting than coming home to a place that is definitively your own after traveling, whether it be a vacation, semester abroad or just a day trip. Here are five questions you should ask when searching for an apartment for the first time.
1. Are utilities included?
It’s important to realize that rent does not equal your total living cost. In addition to rent payments, water, electricity and cable bills beat your bank account into submission. When apartment complexes offer all-inclusive amenities that means your utilities are included in your rent payment.
Complexes that offer all-inclusive deals are typically more expensive than those that do not. If your room can’t be above 68 degrees or you enjoy long, hot showers frequently, then you might want to lean toward all-inclusive amenities.
Some communities offer a hybrid of both. Water may be included in your rent payments but not electricity or cable. Be sure to have all the information on utilities before committing to an apartment.
2. Is the complex pet friendly?
Even if you don’t own a pet, it’s important to know if the complex you are considering allows residents to have pets. If you lived next to someone with a dog, would the barking bother you? Are you severely allergic to cats? Do you not want to chance stepping in a fresh pile of crap? Then a pet friendly complex is not for you.
3. Who are your potential neighbors?
You are going to want to choose an apartment complex that fits your lifestyle. A large part of that depends on the demographic of the community. A lot of complexes here in Gainesville cater toward students. Living in a student-based community allows for more social opportunities, but noise levels are typically high from partying. An apartment community populated mostly by families is quieter but can make you feel secluded.
4. Is a safety deposit required?
Chances are you are going spill something on the new carpet or scuff up the fresh paint in your apartment, but sometimes some truly tragic damage is acquired. That is where your safety deposit comes into play. You pay a deposit fee, typically between $200 and $800, before you move in. If everything is peaches and cream when you move out, then you get that money back. If you cause any serious damage, your safety deposit money goes toward fixing it. Some complexes will waive the fee if you have a guarantor. Some who commit to paying damage costs if they are acquired, sign the lease contract. If you are accident prone consider complexes with lower deposit fees.
5. Is the location convenient for you?
If you’re going to live off campus, you need a way to get back to it. Some apartments are literally across the street from campus, while others are miles away. If you don’t own a car or dislike taking the bus, then living close to campus is your best option. If you don’t mind the bus, then be sure to consider the routes available at a complex. Some apartments have access to three or more bus routes, while others only have one.
Beside campus, you are going to want your apartment’s location to be convenient in relation to supermarkets, stores or anything else you desire to be close.
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