How to Set Up Your Apartment Priorities

By Brittany Hawes on November 19, 2017

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When you go to find your first apartment, of course you’re going to be head over heels excited! It’s your first apartment! You might be thinking of late nights at the pool, neighbor’s parties, and working out at the free gym.

Although those things can all be important, amenities should not be the deciding factor on whether or not you’re going to lease a unit in an apartment.

Although pools and personal patios are awesome, there are other things that should take priority when you’re apartment-hunting, especially if you’re looking to save yourself a headache (and dollars) later down the road.

So what takes precedence over shining pools, glistening grills, and gigantic barbells (AKA: the little things)? Read on to find out!

1. Price

Perhaps the most important factor to think about when you’re out looking for an apartment is how much you’re going to have to pay for it. While the monthly rent is an important feature to consider, don’t forget to calculate how much it’s going to cost to initially sign the lease and have the place in your name.

You’ll want to think about if there will be a security deposit, how much it will cost to turn in an application, if there is an initial pet fee as well as a monthly cost to keeping a pet on the premises, plus how much it will be to set up utilities for the unit. Once you have all of these prices figured out, you’ll have an idea of what the exact price to move into your unit is going to be.

2. Furnished vs. Unfurnished

Are you going to be moving into your apartment with everything you’ll need to live comfortably, like a bed, dressers, towels, desk, sofas, cookware, dishes, and a television? If so, you would probably do best to move into a place that comes unfurnished. Unfurnished units usually run less than furnished units since you’re bringing your own belongings into the place. Plus, most unfurnished places come with your standard appliances like an oven, fridge, and even a microwave, so you won’t have to worry about coming up with the money to afford those bigger things.

However, if you don’t have some of the necessities you’ll need to live in an apartment, you will want to look into renting a furnished apartment. In a furnished apartment, you will most likely be supplied with a lot of the basic furniture you will need to live comfortably.

I’ve lived in a furnished apartment that not only came with a bed, but also a dresser, sofas, and even cookware! However, furnished apartments differ from unit to unit, so make sure you inspect them closely when you tour so you know what things you still need to buy.

3. How’s the Wi-Fi?

Imagine that you have an assignment you need to turn in by midnight that you’re rushing to finish by the deadline because a) procrastination, b) you’re taking six classes this semester, or c) procrastination. Now imagine that you sign into your apartment’s Wi-Fi and try to sign into your course’s website, only to find that you’re stuck. The page is frozen. That little loading icon has been whirling around for ages on your tab and it looks like it’s having the time of its life — it’s not stopping anytime soon.

The bad thing is … this happens all the time at your apartment because the complex neglected to tell you that their Wi-Fi is completely horrendous. YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, movies for class, and every other Internet activity you like to do is as slow as molasses and you can barely get anything done at home.

Avoid this scenario altogether by checking out their Wi-Fi. If you’re thinking of moving into a complex, ask some of the tenants that you see if they’re happy with the apartment-provided Wi-Fi. Check online and read tenant reviews. One of the biggest complaints I’ve run across while apartment hunting are complaints on the internet.

4. Cleanliness

Amenities are great but what’s the point in spending an extra $100 a month for them and they’re disgusting? Don’t be fooled by pictures on the Internet of complexes boasting enormous pools with sparkling blue water and spotless apartment units. Go and take a look for yourself. If you arrive there and they offer to show you a sample unit, one that they show to every party that stops by for a tour, politely ask if you could see a vacant unit that has been lived in as well. These “sample units” are often cleaned and kept up routinely. They can differ substantially from the unit you find yourself renting.

I’ve heard horror stories from friends who have been enticed by the gorgeous sample unit and the complex’s promise of a free scooter or flat-inch TV by signing on the same day as the tour, only to walk into their leased apartment and find it a complete mess, with holes in the walls, pet stains on the carpet, and bathrooms where the grimy tubs and toilets have been neglected by the cleaning staff. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting when you sign your lease.

Hi there! My name's Britt and I'm a senior majoring in English major at Florida State University. I have these crazy, big dreams of traveling the entire world and writing novels in my spare time. I love music, food, and the Japanese culture. I plan on teaching English in Japan upon graduation from Florida State. My first YA novel, Twisted, was published by Deep Sea Publishing Company in 2014. It won a Readers' Favorite Book Award that same year. Alongside schoolwork, I'm working hard on the second book in the Twisted series as well as a number of other novels.

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