Apartment hunting 101


Ben Tschetter

Midway Apartments, located on 901 S. Fourth St., features one-bedroom/one-bathroom units. Make sure to check location, amenities and leasing companies when shopping for an apartment.

By Bisher Martini, Staff Writer

You just moved into your new place. It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. But a few things went unnoticed, until now.

As the days pass, you slowly begin to realize that maybe your apartment’s actual value was far beneath the price you’d paid for; you hadn’t noticed that the refrigerator couldn’t close properly, how thin the walls were or that the floors were tilted at an angle.

If you’ve endured these types of living conditions, here’s some useful advice on some things to consider before choosing your next apartment.

Pick a good spot

Location is crucial to picking an apartment. If you know you’re the type of person to get up half an hour before class starts, choosing an apartment near campus may be your best bet. Also, being able to return to your apartment at any point in the day can be a big advantage. But keep in mind: The closer you get to campus, the steeper the prices get.

Think about how some of your classes may be in one concentrated area. For example, if you’re an engineering student, you might consider living on the north side of campus.

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    You can avoid the inconveniences of living far away by having either a bike or car. 

    If you don’t have a bike or car, it’s probably in your best interest to live near a bus stop that offers various routes. There are many buses that can take you to the same location, and you can check Google Maps to verify; however, if you only have one bus that runs near your apartment, missing that can take you from being late to class to missing class altogether. 

    Appliances: Size does matter

    Utilities and appliances can often be a game-changer when choosing an apartment. You will find that lease prices increase when you have a laundry machine or an extra shower. But remember, just having that appliance doesn’t necessarily improve the offer too much.

    The size of the appliance matters.

    In my apartment last year, I was living with two others, and we had two showers. One shower made us feel like the walls were closing in: It was ridiculously small. We hadn’t considered this a big problem until we put it into practice.

    We were paying the price of two showers, but since one was practically useless, we were only getting the use out of one.

    Moreover, our laundry machine could only fit a quarter of the amount of clothes a normal machine could, and the same went for our dishwasher, sink, rooms, closets and desks.

    These are things my roommates and I looked past in the beginning. We were excited to move in, and we didn’t realize that size would matter so much. It was somehow worse than a dorm. 

    Do outside research

    After you’ve done your own investigating, make sure to do outside research. It’s difficult to determine all the little flaws that may pop up, so track down former residents and ask them about their experiences.

    You can go about researching your apartment by reading Google or Yelp reviews of the leasing company.

    One crucial variable to look for in these reviews is whether your leasing company is willing to fix their utilities. If your TV comes broken and you’re being charged for it on your lease, some companies will delay the process and try to avoid replacing it.

    A friend of mine was living with a broken heater and had to rely on the oven for warmth for several weeks before my work was done.

    As an extra bit of advice, you also want to lease from a company that doesn’t try to falsely charge you. This is a crucial variable you should look for when perusing through online reviews. Look for a consistent and honest company.

    But considering you can’t check out each individual unit through Yelp and Google, and many factors can vary heavily from one unit to the next within the same apartment complex,get a first-hand perspective by simply knocking on the door of the exact unit you plan on leasing.

    Ask renters for their opinion on the place. If they’re fed up with their apartment, they’ll more than likely be happy to vent and tell you exactly what makes their apartment so uninhabitable. 

    Keep your eyes peeled, do your research and good luck.

    Bisher is a senior in LAS.

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