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Apartments for Rent:
Making the Most of Your Rental Experience
by Kris Beldin

Although renting isn't always the most desirable option, sometimes -- for many -- it's the only option. Having been a renter myself I know the frustrations, as well as the joys of renting.

As you peruse the classified ads under "apartments for rent" you are probably looking for two things in particular: first, the price, and second, the included amenities. When my wife and I were searching for our first apartment, price was a major factor for us mostly because we were on a newlywed budget, i.e., tight. Since our first apartment, I have learned that there are a lot more factors that should be at or near the top of your apartment wish list.

  • See the property before putting any money down. Even though price and the included amenities are important, those may not make much of a difference if your apartment is in dire need of repair. The first winter you spend wishing there was insulation around your doors and windows might serve as a good sign that, despite the great price, this apartment may not have been the ideal find. Although seeing the property first may not always be possible, ideally speaking, seeing the property first will at least keep you from unexpectedly renting a "fixer-upper."
  • Check out your neighbors. Neighbors are great. I have had great neighbors, but in an apartment, neighbors aren't just the people across the hall from you; in many instances, you are surrounded by neighbors, and as great as some neighbors may be, others can be a real headache! Having lived in a couple of apartments that cater to college students, this can be a real deal maker or breaker. If you have small children or just value your sleep, it might not be a bad idea to knock on a couple of potential neighbors' doors and ask what things are like once the sun goes down.
  • Live upstairs. Any scientist or plumber will tell you that water always finds the path of least resistance. It might help to add the footnote that that path is often downward. My point here is to tell you to live upstairs. In addition to being kept out of the "indoor rain," living upstairs also provides you with the unlisted amenity of heated floors. Again, any scientist or HVAC repairman will tell you that heat rises, living in any one of the upstairs floors will instantly provide you with heated floors once cold weather hits.
  • Renting is a two-way street. As I have thought about the possibilities of owning a duplex, apartment or home that would take in renters, I am always reminded of how much work it is to be a landlord. Although rental properties might seem like a nice self-sustaining investment, not all owners are ready for the hands-on dedication required. Before you get yourself into a pickle with the landlord, check with neighbors to see what management is like. Do they fix things in a timely manner? Are tenants treated like people or just paychecks? Does management make promises and keep them? These are all important questions to ask if you want to gauge what living conditions will be like when problems arise that require management to step in.

Along this same line, be sure to read through your rental agreement. Make sure you know what you and your landlord are agreeing to and get a copy for future reference. If you don't read the agreement first, you won't have a leg to stand on if it turns out that management has not agreed to do what you are asking them to do. Don't go in unaware.

In the end, you may not have the luxury to apply all of these tips. The bottom line is to make the best of what can sometimes be a not-so-pleasant experience.

About the Author
Content provided by 10x Media. Established in 2003, 10x Media provides innovative online marketing tools. It has expanded its online presence through networks such as Inside Real state, Inside Finances and Grab Real Estate, which contain thousands of pages for city and state specific real estate information across the nation

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