Regardless how long you plan to live in an apartment, it will be your new home so you want to get one that fits your needs as well as possible. There are always a lot of details that can pull you off the track so it’s good to keep in mind what’s really important. Some things are important for all renters while others may only be relevant to you. A good place to start is the following checklist.
Just like if you are buying a home, the location of your new apartment may be the most important factor of all. In fact, renters have far greater flexibility than homebuyers since they may be able to afford an apartment in an area they could not afford to buy in. Things to look at include:
• Public transportation
• Distance to work or school
• Distance to leisure activities you enjoy
• Amenities available within walking distance
How safe and secure you are in your new home is related to its location. You’ll want to ask the following questions:
• Is it a safe neighbourhood to walk around in?
• What are the neighbours like?
• What security measures are in place, like front entrance camera and a secure parking lot?
• What are the tenants like in the building? Are you comfortable around them?
• Is there a Resident Manager on site or nearby who you can rely on?
You want to be sure your new apartment matches your lifestyle and needs. If you are in a relationship or have a child or roommate you will want enough room to all be comfortable – nothing is worse than having someone cramp your style in your own home. Similarly, if you like to entertain you’ll want a unit with a decent dining area and room to hang out. If you are single and are busy away from home most of your waking hours a smaller studio may be just what you need. Naturally the size of your apartment is related to the following consideration:
If an apartment is really cheap, the odds are good that it doesn’t meet the other important criteria. It might not have the location, safe neighbourhood or size that you would like. It’s like the old saying – you get what you pay for. But assuming the apartment meets your needs and is reasonably priced you need to consider the following:
• Utilities – are they included in the rental agreement or extra?
• If you pay for electricity, ask if the unit has Energy Star appliances – they’ll save you money. Also, ask the building manager what you can expect to pay for utilities
• Parking, laundry, storage and lockers – if they are extra, remember to add that to your monthly budget
Swimming pools, fitness centers, meeting rooms, recreation areas and manicured gardens can really help make your apartment home inviting at the end of each day. Of course, they come at a price so you should think about what is important to you and your lifestyle. If working out at the gym is something you want to do regularly, having a fitness centre in your building may actually save you money as you won’t have to pay monthly gym fees or drive and park your car to get to your work-out location. A swimming pool might look nice but if you never use it you’ll end up paying more for your new apartment than necessary.
People looking for an apartment, especially first time renters, often want to get it all – a great building with a gym and pool in a nice neighbourhood close to work and every amenity – but not expect to pay a premium for all the added features. New renters may think the first place they look at is overpriced, then after looking around at what else is available discover that the original apartment was priced fairly.
What are other tenants saying about the apartment building? Check the property management company’s website for testimonials and comments from residents past and present. It’s the best way to get to know what it’s really like living in the building.
Hollyburn Properties is a Canadian owned and managed provider of fine apartments for rent, based in beautiful British Columbia. With 47 premier properties in Metro Vancouver, five in Calgary and 13 in Toronto, Hollyburn’s rental apartment buildings are all located in the most desirable neighbourhoods. It has an established reputation as a top property management firm, thanks to its unwavering company-wide dedication to professionalism, service, quality and commitment.