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5 Red Flags to Avoid When Apartment Hunting

Finding a new place to live is a careful process. You want to find somewhere safe, affordable and clean, and you have to do it before your current lease expires. Make your search easier by using these red flags to narrow your options.

 

No Restrictions on Tenants

Ask the property manager how they screen tenants. Can convicted felons live in the complex? What about people with very low credit scores? If the manager tells you that everyone’s welcome at the property, you should reconsider living there. Even if you need an affordable apartment, you want to live somewhere with standards.

 

No Dishwasher

Do you want to be stuck washing dishes by hand every time you cook? That’s a great way to end up blowing all your money on take-out orders. Look for an apartment with a dishwasher — and a washing machine/dryer, too. Units with appliances tend to offer a range of amenities like an on-site gym or renovated kitchens, and they usually attract better-quality tenants.

 

Poor Parking Options

Can you park close to the unit you’ll be renting? Is the lot secured in any way? You don’t want to fight for parking or deal with random strangers hanging around your apartment’s lot. Ask if the complex offers paid parking options. Even if you don’t end up purchasing one, it’s nice to know what’s available.

 

Incredibly Cheap Rent

It’s okay to look for a good deal when apartment hunting, but if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Before visiting an apartment complex in person, call around the neighborhood and get a rough estimate for how much a 1- or 2-bedroom unit costs typically. If a standard unit rents for $1,500 and your potential new landlord is only asking for $900, ask why. They may have just lost a tenant unexpectedly and need to fill the unit during the off-season, or there may be severe quality issues with the complex.

 

Horrible Online Reviews

Always read the reviews for an apartment before making an appointment for a showing. Sure, some people love to complain, but if most of the reviews are negative, it’s a red flag. Look for common complaints across reviews and changes over time — a new management company can completely change conditions.

 

Don’t get locked into a lousy apartment by rushing into a lease. Take your time to find the right place to live.

Eileen O'Shanassy

Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.