I just signed a lease on a new apartment and it’s remarkable how different an experience it was from the first time I signed a lease. The whole apartment search in general was so much different. I’ve lived in the same place for the past two years, which happened pretty quickly since I had just graduated from college, moved out to Los Angeles and needed a place to start calling home immediately. This time around I was searching for a new place and I had the luxury of knowing where I worked so I could factor in commute time, along with knowing the little neighborhoods in and around the Valley a bit better, plus a few months to look around rather than a couple weeks like last time.
My current place: attractive on the outside and right under every single airplane.
It’s amazing what you learn just by living on your own for just a short time. Like now I know to check whether or not there’s actually more than one kitchen drawer, ask if the windows are soundproof, what kind of internet service they require you to use, see if living near a school will make the street parking too difficult during the day, make sure I don’t accidentally end up renting underneath the flight path for the Burbank airport again, etc.
When searching for a new home it’s good to have realistic expectations but know what you won’t compromise on. For me, I needed it to be a nice complex with a neighborhood surrounding it, a washer-dryer in unit, all appliances included in the kitchen, central AC and heat, a gym (all I need is one elliptical), underground gated parking and enough closet space to fit my mountain of clothes, none of which I can part with.
After what seemed like forever searching on padmapper, craiglist, apartments.com, Zillow and just driving around trying to find nice streets near my job I found a place that managed to tick off everything on my list and that’s when I knew I had found my new home! After a bit of searching and always being a bit disappointed in one aspect of the apartments I had seen, I found one that had everything I wanted – it almost seemed too good to be true. I’m glad I stuck to my list of needs until I found a place that had it all.
When it comes to picking where to move, don’t compromise – you know if you’re going to be unhappy living somewhere with shared laundry or if you need your apartment to have free weights or be able to accept a package for you while you’re at work. Don’t settle, and make sure you’re asking all the questions you want answers to. It may seem like a small thing, but I am so fed up with the price increases on my wifi internet at AT&T U-Verse that I really, really wanted to find a place that allowed a different provider. As soon as the words Time Warner Cable came out of the leasing agent’s mouth it was like a sign.
In general, don’t forget to ask these questions plus whatever else is important to you!
1. Are the lease terms set at 12 months? Is there a chance they become month-to-month after a certain time?
2. What cable/satellite/internet/gas/electric companies do they use?
3. Are any utilities included in the rent price?
4. How quiet is the complex and the surrounding area? Are you situated under a flight path/near railroad tracks/a high school?
5. Is the area you’re in fairly walkable and/or safe at night?
6. Are all appliances updated? Is there a working fire alarm system with a carbon monoxide detector?
7. Do they allow pets?
8. What’s the parking situation?
9. Is it easy to access the highways and get around from where you are? Is there a bus/metro stop close by?
Happy Home Hunting!