The search for a new apartment can sometimes feel tedious, repetitive, and a little annoying if it isn’t going as planned. Some estate agents will want you to fill out form after form, ask for fees that don’t make sense and have you begging for references before you’ve even looked at one place.
The hunt for the perfect apartment can feel like work, but if you know what hacks to use, and what bonuses to look out for, you can easily find yourself picking the right apartment.
Want to know what you should be looking for on your search? Here are five things to do when renting a new apartment.
1: Bring Your Phone Charger
You might think that you need to be a contractor or builder to give an apartment a thorough check, but that isn’t the case. If you give the impression you know what to look for and how to point out problems, the person showing you the apartment is going to take you seriously.
This first tip is a simple hack to check the outlets around the apartment. Plug your phone in every socket and turn it on to make sure it works. I’m suggesting a charger because it’s a free tip, but you can also buy mains testers on the likes of Amazon for quite cheap.
As well as checking the sockets, also go ahead and turn every single light on in every room as you go around. It’s a quick way to check everything is working, and you won’t have to buy bulbs or fuses as soon as you move in. If the apartment has appliances included, give them a go as well – especially if there’s a vacuum cleaner!
2:Ask To Visit At Night
You might go to an apartment two or three times before you commit to living there. Most people will visit during the day, but request to view the apartment at night.
Why would you do this? Well, it’s a good way to find out what your neighbours are like when they get home from work, or if the area is loud or quiet in the evenings. You’d hate to move in and then find there’s a bar down the street that is blasting music all night long.
3:Go For Places With Services
One of the joys of living in an apartment is the convenience it is supposed to bring. Many apartment buildings will claim to have facilities for tenants, but they can be subpar. You’ll want to go somewhere that has services that provide more than just a parking space or a tiny gym with a broken treadmill.
Take a look at Vertus apartments in London as an example. They provide tenants with private gardens, pet-friendly apartments, a lounge area and even a moving team to help make moving in go without a hitch. It’s the little things that can help make you actively want to live somewhere, as opposed to feeling like you’re settling for an OK apartment.
4:Stream As You Check
Another vital tip that could be the difference between you choosing an apartment that works for you, or cursing yourself every night when trying to browse on your phone.
You’ll want to check if the apartment has a reliable phone signal. The easiest way to do it is by opening an app like YouTube or Netflix and starting to play a video at the highest quality possible. If the quality dips in certain rooms or doesn’t play at all, you could have signal issues in the area that will end up annoying you every night.
5: Check For Caps And Protection!
This taps applies to anyone renting in the UK but could also be important wherever you live. Ask with your landlord or letting agent about two things they usually never like talking about; deposit caps and deposit protection.
Deposit caps is a legal requirement that the deposit you put down on a property is never more than five weeks’ rent when the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks when it’s more than £50,000.
Deposit protection differs on where you live, but the basic requirement of it is that when your landlord wants a deposit, they have to ensure it is protected for you in a government-approved scheme. Sometimes this will simply mean the scheme keeps a hold of the money so the landlord can’t claim back the deposit, or it’s used as insurance.
6: Bills. Bills. Bills.
Just like how deposits are handled, enquire about who handles bills. You’ll want to know about the following:
- Council Tax
You’ll want to know whether it is included in the price of your rent, or if this is something you have to consider on top of the price the apartment is available for.
7: Won’t You Be My Neighbour?
The last thing to check out isn’t even in the apartment. Before or after viewing, knock on the doors of those beside, above or below you.
Ask the people living there what the building is like, how safe they feel it is, and what’s good in the area. If you make them feel like they’re the expert of the building, they’ll be happy to dish out all the information and help you understand what living in the apartment will feel like.
You might even make a friend in the process!
Remember: Get Your Camera Out
One bonus tip before I wrap up. If you’re checking the apartment and notice any slight issue, be it a mark on a wall or stain on the carpet, take photos of everything with the person showing you the apartment there too.
It will act as a record that any minor damages were already there when you moved in. You’ll want to email them to whoever is renting you the apartment before you sign the lease as well as further proof should they dispute your deposit when moving out.