Author Topic: How to evaluate an apartment?  (Read 1480 times)

Travis

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How to evaluate an apartment?
« on: December 04, 2014, 06:51:42 AM »
It's looking like I'll be moving to a new job/state next summer.  Of the possible places I'll be going I've already started researching apartment complexes, but I'm finding it difficult to evaluate them.  I look them up on various review websites and it's always a mix of "best place ever" and "this place sucks."  For a lot of them the reviews also tend to be a year or two old.  How do you sift through the lies, fake reviews, and genuine concerns?

Field123

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Re: How to evaluate an apartment?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2014, 08:09:24 AM »
I think its pretty difficult if not impossible to evaluate apartments or any other real estate remotely. You really have to take a trip to the new location and look at places in person. Maybe you could plan a scouting trip in the near future so you can be prepared to pull the trigger when the time to move comes.

neo von retorch

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Re: How to evaluate an apartment?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2014, 09:07:39 AM »
A lot of times you'll see an apartment when it's convenient for you, which is often a morning or afternoon on a Saturday. A lot of people aren't home then so it's hard to tell if you might have noisy neighbors (and thin walls.) Maybe think about when neighbors are most likely to be noisy and annoying (other than 2 AM) so that you can see the place then (if at all possible.) Ask about utility costs and get as much information about that as possible. If renting in a complex, a good management team will already have a range of utility costs ready for you. If renting an individual unit somewhere, you should be able to see actual recent utility bills. Try to picture what you'll be spending money on when you live at the new place. If you find yourself saying "well there's a big kitchen but few cabinets, I'll just buy some storage shelves..." decide if that's an expense you really want.

TerriM

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Re: How to evaluate an apartment?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2014, 09:51:46 AM »
I think it's similar to evaluating anything you want to buy.  Read all the reviews.  If 20% of the reviews say that the hotel is next to a bar and that there is late night noise, then it's probably next to a bar, and if you don't like late night noise, you want to be on the other end of the hotel.  If 20% of the reviews on Amazon say that the product broke in less than a year, and the other 80% say that they're really happy, then you have a 20% chance of your product breaking in less than a year, and and otherwise you'll be happy.  I don't think you should assume that the reviews are lies, just that some people are pickier than others, and some people had better luck than others.

Before we rented our current apartment, we looked at the reviews on the property management company.  On average, they're quite bad.  While our experience is a bit colored by these reviews, the truth is that most of the complaints I've seen carried out against our neighbors while our own experience has been better (though I'm not holding my breath at getting our safety deposit back--the biggest complaint was that the company rips people off on the way out).  On the flip side, my neighbors and I have the same landlord, so if some review said "PM company was very responsive and totally awesome to work with, and my landlord is the best" I wouldn't say it was a lie, I'd suspect that their landlord has pushed the PM company to be responsive to their renters' needs whereas ours are trying to do things on the cheap.