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By Wendy Dessler
Getting The Best Living Situation
Apartments can be useful for a number of reasons, though they can also be expensive, and they can be a real hassle if you don’t choose carefully. Following are five considerations to help you make the best choice in terms of your rental living situation.
- Use Available Resources To Streamline Your Search
At The Urban Avenue you can get an idea of the city in terms of available apartment rentals; according to the site: “Whether you’re completely new to Dallas or have lived here your entire life, we can help you find the best available deal for your move-date.”
Wherever you happen to be apartment-hunting, you want to use resources like this to help you find the best possible options. Check out classified ads online and in local print publications. Ask around as well. There are sometimes rental opportunities that are unlisted, but if you get an idea of the local “spread”, you’ll likely find something which matches your needs.
- Know Gas And Electric Differences
Depending on your geography, this may not make a big difference. In Los Angeles, you’ve got to worry more about air conditioning than you do about heating. But if you do have gas or electric atmospheric controls, you’re going to have a different utility bill. You’re likely going to find that gas heating is less expensive than electric heating.
- Understand The Neighborhood And Cost Implications
Another example from Los Angeles, but worth considering: your neighborhood will affect both your cost of living, and your safety of living. Sometimes cheap apartments are that way because they’re in the middle of a high crime community. Sometimes they’re not centrally located, and the commute is high. But you can shoot yourself in the foot if you’re not careful.
Say you’ve always wanted to live in Hollywood because you’re some kind of aspiring performer. So you find an apartment for only $1,500 a month just off Hollywood boulevard. That’s actually not a bad deal at all. Sure, the apartment is a studio with a bed in the living room, an attached kitchen, a small bathroom, and nothing else. But it’s right in the middle of everything!
Meanwhile, just ten miles north of you, in San Fernando, there’s an apartment that’s three times the size, costs half as much, and is located in a less crime-ridden community. The catch is the commute. If you leave at the wrong time, or take the wrong route, it can take you two hours to travel that ten miles to Hollywood. What’s the solution?
Well, if you take the cheaper option north of town at $750, you’ll save $9,000 a year—in an expensive town like LA, you’re going to need that. It would be advisable to learn traffic patterns and adapt yourself to fit the more cost-effective situation. What’s the takeaway for you? Wherever you choose to live, know the neighborhood, cost, and travel considerations involved.
Also, know your own personal situation. If you’re a single guy, you’ve got a little bit more latitude than a newlywed couple, and newlyweds have more latitude than a family.
- Tour Multiple Properties
Don’t just take the first apartment which fits your price range, proclivities, and location needs. Look at five different apartments at least. Especially as you are on the hunt for a new living situation you’re going to have a temptation to settle. This may net you a bad lease, a bad deal, or a rough situation of some caliber that you’re stuck in.
A better way to go about it is to look at multiple properties and choose the best one. Find five that meet your qualifications, and go with the best deal in terms of location, neighborhood, utilities, and commute.
- Keep Copies Of All Paperwork
This is a strange one that you’ve got to be aware of today in the wake of Craigslist. There are going to be rental or room share or cohabitation opportunities out there which aren’t as “official” or “established” as that which was available in previous years. These are great ways to save money and get more for what you spend, but they’re also great ways to get stabbed unexpectedly in the back.
Imagine if you signed paperwork and paid a $500 deposit only to have the “landlord” of the property go “sideways” on you, demanding you do things that weren’t in the initial lease agreement. If you didn’t keep a copy of the agreement, you’re out of luck; it’s his word against yours, and he owns the property. If you’ve got a copy of the lease agreement, meanwhile, you can “keep him honest”, as the saying goes.
Getting The Best Apartment In Your Area
You can additionally check out this further list of apartment considerations to help you modify your search. It can be difficult to source a dependable rental living situation, but it isn’t without the realm of possibility. If you take your time, know what you’re getting into, scout multiple possible properties, and retain the paperwork after you decide, you’re likely to find a more dependable situation that will better serve your needs.