It’s time to move, to rent a new apartment, to start a new life – it’s always so. But if you want your new life to be good, so should be the place you move to. You can read local laws, explore pressure assist toilets reviews, learn local transportation maps – you name it, but does it help you find the apartment you’ll feel comfortable in? Well, here are some tips that will help you find a good place to live.
Make Up Your Mind
The first thing you need to do is to decide what you want. Your way of life defines the requirement. Answer some of these questions:
- Do you plan to work at home, or do you go to work, or travel around on business?
- Will you live alone or potentially with someone else?
- Got any pets?
- Do you prefer home cooking, restaurants, or food delivery?
- Do you usually move around by car or by public transportation?
These questions define your requirements for the apartment. Location matters if you need to get to your work quickly as possible or to see your friends living around. If you are not too fond of cooking, a kitchen isn’t as important for you. But if you have a car, a nearby garage is a must.
What Should a Good Apartment Have?
While the requirements may differ (an isolated room, parking nearby, pet-friendly attitude, etc.), there are some basic ones literally for everyone. They include:
- Decent walls and floor. Check whether they are rotting, cracked, or otherwise defective. This can be a reason to find another place… or reasonably bargain.
- Functional modern utilities. If they are obsolete or damaged (leaking water, old lighting, etc.), they can inflate your bills. You should also check how services function. If there is low water pressure or a no cellular signal zone, this is a reason either to keep searching or to negotiate further.
- Planning that fits your requirements. As you’re usually not supposed to do any replanning, you need to find an apartment you’ll feel comfortable in.
Do You Need a Real Estate Broker?
Frankly speaking, do you always read the license agreement when installing new software? The same applies to rental contracts: unless you’re a lawyer, you can easily skip an important line that suddenly makes you pay more than you expected or allows the landlord to visit the property whenever they want, without even knocking. To avoid this, you need your contract scrutinized by a professional. It doesn’t have to be a lawyer: a real estate broker is usually just as competent.
A broker also knows the pricing in the area you want to move to. They are aware of factors that impact the price, so they come armed to the negotiation. Last but not least, they usually have multiple options at hand, so you can easily choose between them and select the one you prefer. Even if you find apartments yourself on Craigslist, Oodle, or local online communities, a broker may help you negotiate and point out some apartment details you may miss.
So, unless you move around every month or so and know the business inside out, the answer is yes, you’ll need a broker. This is how you make sure the contract is legit, and you have all the benefits you pay for, as well as the rights you want for yourself as a tenant.
How to Negotiate
It’s not only the cost of rent that can be negotiated, other terms can be, too. For example, let’s address the most obvious questions:
- Who should pay the utilities?
- Does the price include the tax?
- If there is any extra furniture or equipment you’d like to have there, who buys it, and what happens to it after you leave?
- What about general maintenance and insurance?
- What about pets? Are you allowed to keep them at all? And if so, which ones and what extra measures should you take (if any)? This may lead to surprises, though: once, the author mentioned pets at the first meeting with the landlord and ended up with a Scottish kitten as a bonus.
- Any upgrades that reduce the expenses, like a WaterSense-compliant toilet or LED lighting instead of the old ones? If so, who are they on?
The rule of the thumb is that you shouldn’t pay more than 30% of your monthly income on your apartment. So, if it’s $2,000, the rental cost should not exceed $600. Of course, it’s flexible, but if you apply a little negotiation skill, you can get yourself a better place for that amount.
- Start looking for an apartment at least 60 days before you plan to move in. Choosing, negotiating, and moving will take time.
- The location may be more important than indoor comfort if you visit nearby areas often. For freelancers working online, though, it’s just the other way around.
- The landlord may want a security deposit or an advance payment for the last month. Keep this in mind as you plan your expenses. The broker’s reward is often linked to the rental cost, too.
- Don’t agree or disagree before you visit the place. You need to see it with your own eyes to get an impression.
- Neighbors may influence your life more than you think. Don’t miss a chance to talk to them before you move in.
Time to Live and to Leave
Last but not least: one day, any rental ends. You need to make it clear what happens when it’s time to move on. Some landlords want the last month paid in advance; it’s helpful because your next move, no matter whether this time it’s your own property or another rented place, is always a costly thing. Otherwise, there may be a security deposit you want back when you leave. You need to make sure everything is in order, and if you leave some furniture or appliances you’ve bought while living here, they need to be also accounted as your investment and probably part of your payments.
Let’s hope we all find the best place to live, and these tips have helped you find a comfortable homely place. Read us more for more tips on real estate!