Okay, so there are plenty of articles out there that cover the finer details of actually buying your own home. You may even see one on here sooner rather than later! Finding a place to live that won’t drive you up a wall after the first week takes more than an escrow account, though. We pulled together 10 tips for hunting for your next abode, whether you’re buying or renting.
Want to know about places or rooms that are available? Your friends, family and coworkers can have some great advice. They could have some active leads on a new place to live, too! Granted, it’s up to you if you’d want to mix your coworkers with new roommates.
Visit at Different Times
This is a good one especially if you’re noise sensitive. Check out what the area is like at different times on different days. That includes the weekend or in the evenings.
Is having good cell phone reception important to you? Check every room. It’s a time-consuming task that might look a little like a cell phone service commercial. However, it’s key to know this type of thing going into a new living situation.
Use the Restroom
If at all possible, see what the setup is in the restroom to make sure you won’t be miserable in a poorly sized shower. Many long-term apartment-dwellers will also warn that bottom floor apartments can be on the receiving end of plumbing problems from the floors above.
Ask About Recurring Costs
This is especially important if you have pets or a parking space. Monthly fees are essentially the same as rent if you don’t plan on ditching your dog or your car.
Scope Out Transit
Are you relying on public transit? Give it a go to see if it’s on time and easy to get to. Do you have to cross traffic or walk without a sidewalk? Is the bus perpetually full at peak times?
Know Your Budget
What’s your final number? Make sure the baseline rent or mortgage and any extras fit it, or you might need to check out smaller spaces. If you’ve ever had to look for a new place to live, you know that this decision is largely driven by a mix of location (with respect to schools and work), number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the price tag.
Ask Yourself What You Really Need
Extra square footage is more space to clean! Okay, but more seriously, you will need to ask (and answer) some of those important questions about what’s actually important to you and your family. The answers will be different for everyone, and that’s okay. Just don’t pick a hill to proverbially die on if that feature doesn’t actually matter to you.
Yep, there are likely online reviews for apartment complexes, home rental companies and even real estate agents.
If you want to have kids, save yourself now and check out how much the place resembles a death trap for toddlers. That includes things like dangerous stair situations and an unfenced yard on a busy street.