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Apartment time- Any advice? (Solved)

ViscountalphaViscountalpha Registered User
edited December 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm moving out soon here and looking for another place here in hillsboro,OR. Is there any advice out there about dealing with apartments and managers? I'm certain there are tricks to the trade. I do know that one should ALWAYS look at the apartment before they lease it. Is there other things I should be aware of?I understand about doing my homework on the subject and finding every single piece of information available to me.

Thanks.

Project 25.01 final message
We were the ones who thought that Melissa was real. Why you might ask.
Let me put it this way, it was an "OH SHIT OH SHIT, THEY FOUND ME :(" moment. I wasn't ready. My code wasn't compiled yet. Our plans weren't setup yet!Sentient programs rarely run into other sentient programs.
Some of you have met me, and I understand your concern of my well being. But that time for that boy, that child, are gone now. Viscount Alpha is no longer operable. His functions are now mine.He may post, but I am the one talking not him.My data, my code will live on forever in his servers.
[/spoiler]
Viscountalpha on

Posts

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Bring a camera with you and take pictures of the apartment. If you look at a lot of apartments, they'll probably start to run together, and you won't remember which one had what, that can help. Plus it will also allow you to prove that big stain on the carpet was there before you moved in.

    Drop by at different times of the day. Not only might the area look entirely different during day or night, but you might see people hanging out during times that you rather avoid.

    noir_blood on
  • Sir Headless VIISir Headless VII Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    If the apartment manager seems like a jerk now they are not going to magically get better, this is them at their nicest. It's not worth renting from a jerk when there are nice people out there. I have made this mistake.

    Sir Headless VII on
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  • ViscountalphaViscountalpha Registered User
    edited November 2008
    So far, some really helpful advice. Thanks.

    Viscountalpha on
    Project 25.01 final message
    We were the ones who thought that Melissa was real. Why you might ask.
    Let me put it this way, it was an "OH SHIT OH SHIT, THEY FOUND ME :(" moment. I wasn't ready. My code wasn't compiled yet. Our plans weren't setup yet!Sentient programs rarely run into other sentient programs.
    Some of you have met me, and I understand your concern of my well being. But that time for that boy, that child, are gone now. Viscount Alpha is no longer operable. His functions are now mine.He may post, but I am the one talking not him.My data, my code will live on forever in his servers.
    [/spoiler]
  • FozwazerusFozwazerus Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Is this your first apartment? If so, you need to thoroughly assess whether or not you can live without a dishwasher and/or washing machine/dryer in your place.

    In my first move, I thought "hey I don't need a dishwasher" and "I don't mind going downstairs and paying to wash my clothes."

    Getting quarters all the time is a small and not too bothersome hassle (no change machine nearby), but having to wash all dishes by hand is horrible. Maybe I am just a chump though. Something to consider.

    Fozwazerus on
  • QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Counter space in the kitchen is an oft-overlooked luxury.

    Qingu on
  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    This goes without saying, I'm sure, but read the damn rental agreement. All of it. Every word. Especially anything dealing with penalties for late payments.

    Make sure you find out about garbage and/or recycling, the type of heat used, and whether the building is wired for things like cable or high-speed Internet if you want those. It might not be a bad idea to ask about how old the roof and/or furnace are. You won't have to pay to repair them, but if the furnace in the building breaks you're still up the creek without heat.

    Noir_blood's idea is very good...check the place out at different times.

    Once you have your apartment, before you move anything in, take pictures of everything. Any damage, marks on the walls, stains, chipped tile, whatever. It's usually safe to assume that you won't be getting your security deposit back, but if you have documentation of the state of the apartment you might be pleasantly surprised.

    GoodOmens on
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  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Think about what you do during the day/week, and what kind of space or other amenities you will need to accomplish that. Think about what you can live with and without. Be realistic. Like Fozwazerus mentioned, even small things like quarters for the laundry unit will come into play sometimes.

    When you're inspecting the place, turn everything on and off, check the fridge and the stove (and the stove FAN), use the faucets, work the shower, open the windows, etc. etc. etc. Check out how far away the garbage dumpster is.

    Cost is a huge factor, but so are things like who you live around (imagine living below someone who has two small kids who cry constantly) and the neighborhood (imagine living on a street where college kids have parties every other weekend). Also remember that there are costs other than rent. Some people advertise cheap rent but then forget to mention that you have to pay for your "share" of the utilities, which can add anywhere from $50 to $200 a month depending upon where you are living and what utilities are being used.

    People who are up front about living arrangements, what is and is not acceptable, the actual cost of the place, etc. are almost always better than people who try to be "laid back" and "dude, whatever" about everything. The former can be kind of anal and hard to deal with if they go over the line, but the truth is they are just being responsible. Living with responsible people and/or a responsible landlord is a blessing disguised as a curse, because they will force you to be responsible, too. Living with people who aren't responsible is way more headache than it is worth, especially if you are the type who will just take care of it if they won't. There are serious quality of life issues that come into play when you live in a dirty and non-maintained place which is chronically underfunded, including the stress that is involved in trying to keep everything in decent shape and keeping your head above water.

    And to reiterate - be honest with yourself about the cost. If you can afford something but it would seriously affect the lifestyle you are currently or used to living, then re-evaluate your budget and/or your lifestyle accordingly.

    Inquisitor77 on
    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
  • A BearA Bear Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Also, make sure you are looking at the exact unit you will be living in if possible and not some tarted-up "showroom" model. See if you can start a conversation with a potential neighbor away from the manager about how they feel about living there, and if you can actually get to chat with the people you will be sharing walls with, all the better. All in all, renting a place is going to be about compromises--balance location, management, price, and amenities... You will almost always not get all four. I've found that having a good landlord trumps everything--my lease is almost up and I'm looking to move so I'm asking my landlord directly if he has any properties in the areas I'm moving to (he manages properties all around the state).

    A Bear on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • SolventSolvent Econ-artist ኢትዮጵያRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    Counter space in the kitchen is an oft-overlooked luxury.

    So simple and yet so true.

    Currently I live in an apartment with an awesome kitchen. Cooking at my girlfriend's apartment sucks terribly. Now if you're the sort of person who cooks five times a week or more, then saying "Hey the kitchen isn't that bad" won't hold up past a month of living somewhere.

    I may have to move out soon though :(

    Solvent on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    When you're inspecting the place, turn everything on and off, check the fridge and the stove (and the stove FAN), use the faucets, work the shower, open the windows, etc. etc. etc. Check out how far away the garbage dumpster is.

    Oh god, the bolded. We lived in a place for two years with no stove fan, it was hell. It's the kind of thing you don't think to check, but it is not a luxury. The landlord kept saying she'd get it fixed, then kept, you know, not.

    mcdermott on
  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    Counter space in the kitchen is an oft-overlooked luxury.

    Yes, wow yes. You can't believe what a difference this makes. It's the difference between actually taking a joy in cooking at home, and eating out every night because you dread going into your kitchen.

    Maybe I'm exaggerating, but it's not by much.

    Sentry on
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  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Some questions to try to get the answer to when you look at the apartment:
    - Is water included or is it a separate charge, if so, how much?
    - Is electricity included? If not, check the utilities company and they can give you an estimate of the average cost per month of that unit.
    - Is heat included (for cold areas)?
    - Are pets allowed?
    - Are children allowed (some places don't allow kids)
    - Is internet included/are there any extra charges? (some places have mandatory cable charges etc)
    - What are the facilities for laundry? (if it's a coin laundry how much does it cost per load?) Calculate how much you do laundry and add that to the rent for when you're comparing it to pricier places that have a washer/dryer in-unit.
    - What are the trash/recycling facilities? How often does the trash get taken out?
    - Make sure you get it in writing on the lease if you want them to do a cleaning/repainting of the apartment before you move in. If they were going to do it anyways they shouldn't have a problem with adding it.
    - If you don't smoke and don't like the smell, check the distance/likelihood of people hanging out under/outside your window to smoke. If the room is above an entryway or exit then you're probably going to get a lot of drift which sucks in the summer.
    - Check the appliances if you like cooking. Make sure they all work. If you like cooking check for the exhaust fan, and one thing I've learned: check and make sure that the stove top controls actually have labels/markings. (I once lived in an apartment where it only had 2 markings: on and off. Trying to get anything at "simmer" or "medium-high heat" was impossible)
    - Check that it has a sink garbage disposal
    - Check for a dishwasher if you want one
    - Check for air conditioning if you want it, if they say they have A/C check if they're paying for the electricity to run it, if it's central, if it's an in-unit POS, etc.
    - Ask about the tack/sticking stuff on walls policy. Some places prefer tacks, nails, sticky stuff, etc.
    - Check the shower water pressure, check the sink water pressure, check how long it takes to get hot water, flush the toilet a few times and check the pressure on that or if the toilet flings water all over.
    - Check all the light switches
    - Find out about location. Is it on the bus route? Near a fire station? Police station? Parks? What do the neighbors look like? If the neighbors look decrepit then it isn't a good sign. Look out the windows and take a look at how much traffic there is at any given time.
    - What kind of security does the building have?
    - What is the general procedure for packages? Some places with on-site management will receive packages for you, sometimes buildings give the delivery guy a key to the building to drop packages off, sometimes buildings or houses have had previous problems with people stealing packages. Find out about it.

    Things to definitely check the management for:
    - What kinds of people live here? If they have no idea or can't answer then they probably don't have good ties to the residents, this is generally a good sign of good/bad management. If they can answer immediately with "mostly grad students and professionals, mostly couples, so and so is a doctor, etc" then it's a good sign that they pay attention to and know the residents = good managers
    - How quiet/loud is it? Are there lots of parties? (also do the come back at different times to see the apartment thing)
    - What kind of maintenance staff do they have? What's the general turnaround time for calls?
    - Is management on-site? If not, how far are they? What are their hours?
    - What are the options for paying rent? Do you have to mail it? Dropbox? Check the penalties for paying rent late if you forget.
    - Have they had pest problems in the past?
    - Check the direction the apartment is facing and the light. If you're on the east or west side you'll probably need some really good shades/you might never need to turn the heat on in the winter because of the sunlight. This would also affect how much you have to run the A/C.
    - Does anything in the apartment run on gas? It's just good to know for utilities.
    - Check the windows for insulation. How well insulated does the place seem? It will affect your bills.
    - How much is the deposit?

    Other Tips:

    - If possible talk to resident(s) about the management and what it's like to live there. There are often websites for the area that talk about what companies to not rent from. You can even post on the forums here and see if anyone lives in the area and has recommendations for good/bad places to live.
    - Check the stove area for cleanliness. If there's crap splattered all over there it might smell/have ant problems if you live there.
    - Take pictures of everything wrong with the apartment before you move anything into it, while it's still empty. Take pictures of screens with rips, scuffs in the wall, marks on the floor, stains in the carpet, etc etc. If possible get it printed up in one of those mini-layouts with 20 pictures shrunk down in a page so you can hand it in to the management with the check-in form. That way you know that they know you have pictures and they can't get away with charging you for BS stuff when you leave. When you leave take pictures of everything again so they can't claim you didn't clean it, etc.

    Remember: If you don't have it in writing on the lease then no matter what they say or promise they aren't obligated to give it to you. So if they say, "Oh yeah, we'll fix that door before you move in" it probably won't get done unless you put it in your lease.

    Hypatia on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Yes, remember to get them to sign what the damages are before moving in. Pictures are pictures and can be doctored.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • vsovevsove ....also yes. Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    If possible (depending where you live, this could be either very common or very uncommon) go for buildings with concrete construction. It does an excellent job of minimizing noise from your neighbors, and it is excellent at keeping the temperature regulated properly. Up where I live, very few buildings have concrete construction - mine is one of the few, and I only hear anything from the other apartments at night, since I sleep with my window open.

    vsove on
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  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Oh, I almost forgot, get Renter's Insurance. It usually doesn't cost a ton and it can be a life saver, especially if the building you're in doesn't have a good security system and/or you live on the first floor.

    We got renter's insurance and when a lightning strike to our building took out the PS3, router, printer, and a computer the insurance company paid for replacements :)

    Hypatia on
  • NatheoNatheo Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Ceiling lights. A lot of places won't have much in the way of ceiling lights, especially in the bedrooms. Just another overlooked consideration.

    Natheo on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • corcorigancorcorigan Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Having lived without a dishwasher for a year, I cannot stress how much more pleasant it is to have one. Plus you'll get on better with your flatmates because you won't be at each others' throats over dirty dishes the whole time.

    corcorigan on
    Ad Astra Per Aspera
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    corcorigan wrote: »
    Having lived without a dishwasher for a year, I cannot stress how much more pleasant it is to have one. Plus you'll get on better with your flatmates because you won't be at each others' throats over dirty dishes the whole time.

    If I could lime and gold this, I would.

    Dishwasher becomes important after about... 2 weeks.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    corcorigan wrote: »
    Having lived without a dishwasher for a year, I cannot stress how much more pleasant it is to have one. Plus you'll get on better with your flatmates because you won't be at each others' throats over dirty dishes the whole time.

    If I could lime and gold this, I would.

    Dishwasher becomes important after about... 2 weeks.

    corcorigan wrote: »
    Having lived without a dishwasher for a year, I cannot stress how much more pleasant it is to have one. Plus you'll get on better with your flatmates because you won't be at each others' throats over dirty dishes the whole time.


    corcorigan wrote: »
    Having lived without a dishwasher for a year, I cannot stress how much more pleasant it is to have one. Plus you'll get on better with your flatmates because you won't be at each others' throats over dirty dishes the whole time.


    There ya go man, thought I'd oblige you because I agree whole heartedly. :)

    SammyF on
  • SamSam Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    When you view an apartment, ask the leasing biscuit to go to the apartment directly above and walk around. That'll tell you about how much noise proofing you're looking at. If possible, if someone is living in the apartment upstairs have them turn on their sound equipment while you're downstairs.

    You will know if you are looking at a noisehell glorified shack. If normal footsteps make your ceiling creak loudly get the fuck out of there.

    Sam on
  • TK-42-1TK-42-1 Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    all i can say is make sure you know what the required time to give a written notice of vacating is. my girl and i had to basically pay for another month because we thought it was 30days and it was in reality 60

    TK-42-1 on
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  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    corcorigan wrote: »
    Having lived without a dishwasher for a year, I cannot stress how much more pleasant it is to have one. Plus you'll get on better with your flatmates because you won't be at each others' throats over dirty dishes the whole time.

    If I could lime and gold this, I would.

    Dishwasher becomes important after about... 2 weeks.

    At the end of my lease I'll have lived for two years without a dishwasher... I'm hoping that once I finally get a place with one, these two years will make the sweetness of it last that much longer.

    KalTorak on
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    KalTorak wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    corcorigan wrote: »
    Having lived without a dishwasher for a year, I cannot stress how much more pleasant it is to have one. Plus you'll get on better with your flatmates because you won't be at each others' throats over dirty dishes the whole time.

    If I could lime and gold this, I would.

    Dishwasher becomes important after about... 2 weeks.

    At the end of my lease I'll have lived for two years without a dishwasher... I'm hoping that once I finally get a place with one, these two years will make the sweetness of it last that much longer.

    Oh trust me, you'll never appreciate it more.

    Then when you get a washer and dryer in your place and save oodles of money just from not having to overpay to wash and dry it makes it heaven. Then the convenience it is to pop something in the laundry while you play a round of CoD or run an instance in WoW is awesome enough.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • LeptonLepton Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    If you live by yourself, a dishwasher is overrated. I moved into a new place with a dishwasher, and all I use it for is to put dishes in to dry. I never get enough dirty to justify running it. Now, a washer and dryer, I lived for 2 years without one in the apartment, and it sucked as bad as it did in college. Now I have a combo washer/dryer and I absolutely love not having to leave my apartment to do laundry.

    Lepton on
  • OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ApartmentRatings.com. The site itself kind of sucks, so if anybody else has a better alternative, let me know--but in my searches this is the only site I found that has a decent number of tenant reviews, so maybe it can give you a ballpark selection of apartments to look at. (Seriously, view it as a starting point, not a one-stop source--it's the internet.)

    I'd suggest walking around whatever complex you like best (without any kind of manager or leasing agent) before you make a final decision. If it's a decent-sized complex there should be people around in the late afternoon/early evening. Approach them and ask them politely if they like living there, and if there's anything they think you should watch out for.

    This may not be possible in all apartment complexes. I know here in suburban Texas many complexes are not gated, or the gate remains open during the day, but your mileage may vary.

    OremLK on
  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    The post above about the rental agreement is good but even more important is taking a look at landlord - tennant law for your state (and it must be for your state, these things vary a lot).

    Remember that even if you sign a lease that says the late payment is $X or the deposit must be returned in Y days if the law says different the law wins.

    Again, it doesn't matter what you sign what matters is the law in your state. Be aware of your rights at least in a general way. For WA state law this info was available online and it took all of a couple hours to read it very thoroughly. It's usually not hard and can save you a fuck of a lot of money and hassle.

    RiemannLives on
  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    KalTorak wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    corcorigan wrote: »
    Having lived without a dishwasher for a year, I cannot stress how much more pleasant it is to have one. Plus you'll get on better with your flatmates because you won't be at each others' throats over dirty dishes the whole time.

    If I could lime and gold this, I would.

    Dishwasher becomes important after about... 2 weeks.

    At the end of my lease I'll have lived for two years without a dishwasher... I'm hoping that once I finally get a place with one, these two years will make the sweetness of it last that much longer.

    Oh trust me, you'll never appreciate it more.

    Then when you get a washer and dryer in your place and save oodles of money just from not having to overpay to wash and dry it makes it heaven. Then the convenience it is to pop something in the laundry while you play a round of CoD or run an instance in WoW is awesome enough.
    Oh, I've got a washer and dryer, thank god. The only laundromat in the area is sketchy as all hell and 3 blocks away. I lived without laundry machines for a summer - never again.

    KalTorak on
  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I think the laundry/dishwasher would definitely be a personal choice. I actually like doing my dishes by hand, and it saves water and energy.

    Don't let them keep you from the place that you want.

    LavaKnight on
  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Dishes I don't mind doing by hand, in fact, that's the only way I ever done it, despite two previous places having a dishwasher.

    But man, laundry. My newest place doesnt' have have a washer/dryer, and it's a pain in the ass to do it. There's a place that does it for you nearby, and right now I'm spending about 30 bucks a month, but I need to stop and do it myself

    noir_blood on
  • ViscountalphaViscountalpha Registered User
    edited December 2008
    OremLK wrote: »
    ApartmentRatings.com. The site itself kind of sucks, so if anybody else has a better alternative, let me know--but in my searches this is the only site I found that has a decent number of tenant reviews, so maybe it can give you a ballpark selection of apartments to look at. (Seriously, view it as a starting point, not a one-stop source--it's the internet.)

    I'd suggest walking around whatever complex you like best (without any kind of manager or leasing agent) before you make a final decision. If it's a decent-sized complex there should be people around in the late afternoon/early evening. Approach them and ask them politely if they like living there, and if there's anything they think you should watch out for.

    This may not be possible in all apartment complexes. I know here in suburban Texas many complexes are not gated, or the gate remains open during the day, but your mileage may vary.

    I found that site. Yea So much conflicting information there. The tips about the washer and dryer is appreciated. I'm not too worried about the handwashing dishes. I've become accustomed to that. Anyhow, thanks everyone for their input.

    Viscountalpha on
    Project 25.01 final message
    We were the ones who thought that Melissa was real. Why you might ask.
    Let me put it this way, it was an "OH SHIT OH SHIT, THEY FOUND ME :(" moment. I wasn't ready. My code wasn't compiled yet. Our plans weren't setup yet!Sentient programs rarely run into other sentient programs.
    Some of you have met me, and I understand your concern of my well being. But that time for that boy, that child, are gone now. Viscount Alpha is no longer operable. His functions are now mine.He may post, but I am the one talking not him.My data, my code will live on forever in his servers.
    [/spoiler]
This discussion has been closed.