Thread: Apartment Living: Advice?
March 16th, 2011, 06:50 PM #1
Apartment Living: Advice?
Yours truly is finally moving out of the parents nest (at the ripe age of 24! ) and doing some apartment shopping.
Any sage advice for the young'n? Tips n' tricks?
Good job, friend-of-friends!
March 16th, 2011, 07:30 PM #2
Don't get a "garden level" unless you like bugs and staring at car bumpers.
March 16th, 2011, 07:39 PM #3
Buy good trash bags! Nothing like meeting your new neighbors while scooping up trash into what's left of a torn bag.
I've always liked an upstairs - more secure, balcony is more private, and the ventilation is better.Obama: The rich have the Federal Reserve and the poor have Harry Reid... LOL. Life really is unfair!
March 16th, 2011, 08:05 PM #4
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
- Uh, Central Oregon
- Blog Entries
Document everything . . . pictures of all damages, patchwork, cuts/burns/stains in the carpets, nail/screw holes, dirt, rust, EVERYTHING!!
Burn to CD/DVD and provide copy to management.
That way you won't be paying for something you didn't ruin.
March 16th, 2011, 08:17 PM #5
March 16th, 2011, 08:29 PM #6
Upper floor apartments are nice and toasty in the winter and hot in the summer. Also, the higher up you live, the more staircases you need to carry multiple bags of groceries up.The timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it. -Mary Catherine Bateson-
March 16th, 2011, 08:42 PM #7
March 16th, 2011, 10:14 PM #8
Rent as close to work as you can possibly afford. Living within walking distance to work means possibly getting rid of most peoples largest expense - their car. Riding a bike would be an excellent way of extending your range(saving money) if you're close enough to work but just a bit too far away to walk comfortably every day. Every mile away from your workplace can cost you big bucks, the cheapest car costing you about 25 cents per mile and going up depending on your auto, insurance, gas prices, and time wasted in traffic.
I dont know how crime is in your area, remember that "ease of access" means easy to break into as well. A ground level apartment is easy to take groceries into, but will also be the first target of any criminals willing to take the chance for some quick, easy booty.
Rent a furnished apartment first if possible. Generally that means you get a 'fridge, stove, sometimes a dishwasher, and you WONT have to buy furniture to fill the apartment out of your own pocket.
IF not, go minimalist - buying furniture is about the fastest way of going broke(buying an unneeded car is faster) - not to mention completely crowding any space you have from your apartment.
Do NOT splurge on buying furniture until you KNOW you will have enough money to support you for 4 to 6 months(many professionals say 9 months to a year) if you lose your job. Ask your parents for leftovers - that extra bed/chair and table set etc not being used(or that they dont want) in their house. Thrift stores offer excellent bargains for young kids just starting off.
Also - FIRST comes bed, then 'fridge, coffee/stove/range/microwave, then dining table/chairs( I never liked eating over the sink/off the counter, but when money was tight I was glad I had food to eat). Do not "eat out" if you can possibly eat in. Food from a grocery store is cheaper, AND more healthy for your body in the long run and you NEED your health later in life!
Buying a big screen TV is a big drain on your wallet, your health and a big waste of space,- buy a soccer/basket/foot ball instead, meet friends, and network from there. One of the best jobs I ever had I got from a friend I was playing basketball with.
When you meet that special person(you will), and they want to move in(they will), GET IT IN WRITING how much of the rent(and food costs/etc) they promise that they will contribute - for at least the first YEAR(being with a person one year doesnt guarantee you will be together forever, but by that time you guys will know if the relationship will be for the long term by then). This is one of those emotional traps that is all too easy for you to fall into. Just be careful when you let this happen.They say technology slows down for no one. I know it outruns my wallet. I figure its because my wallet isn't light enough yet.
TechIMO Folding@home Team #111 - Crunching for the cure!
dulce bellum inexpertis
March 17th, 2011, 02:30 AM #9
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
- PULL da FINGER
We moved into a 3rd floor 2 bedroom apt. Its rather nice not having anyone on top of you making racket. Plus you may get vaulted ceilings in some rooms. The only drawback we found is the patio has no roof, but the two below us do. You are young enough where a few flights of stairs won't be a bother!
Harder made an excellent point. Document every nick,stain, burn, etc.
I sure hope rentals in MO are cheaper than Seattle. We are renting our place, with extra for a covered parking space for the Spyder, for about $768. Nothing included at all.
We are (hopefully) moving out on May 1st to a 1 bedroom cottage on a lake with a bath house and a bunk house."life is short..don't be a dick"
March 17th, 2011, 02:57 AM #10
Pay attention to noise levels (from the outside and upstairs/side neighbours). It will drive you nuts if you can't fall asleep during the night because you can hear your neighbour snore (happened to me). When you go to check the place out, verify that the water pressure in the faucets is to your liking. Make sure you can get hot water from the tap (my fiancee actually can't many times due to inadequate water heater I guess).
Ask about parking, whether the manager lives on site, restrictions on pets, what do you have to do to get your security deposit back (some places will require professionar cleaners).
March 17th, 2011, 04:36 AM #11
Note the location of the unit within the property.
Bedroom windows close to a bus stop or parking lots can be a loud bummer.
Corner units near an intersection in the parking lot can be noisy.
Vaulted ceilings cost a fortune to heat and cool. Upstair units in general cost more in heating/cooling costs.
After taking a tour of a unit that you might like to live in - stop by there in the evening between 5 and 8 to check out the neighbors. Living next door to party animals can suck unless you party with them.
Pool side units can be fun.. but can also suck when you come home at midnight and find 200 people having a party.
Living with one of the larger property management companies is a plus.. They can afford to maintain the property.
You can tell a lot about a property buy the outside condition of the place. The age and condition of the cars in the parking lot will tell you about your neighbors.
Ask about their pet policy. Avoid any property that allows dogs over twenty pounds. Heck.. even living next door to a small dog that barks ALL DAY LONG can suck big time.
Don't date a neighbor.. Some one has to move when the relationship is over
A one bedroom with the bathroom in the hall versus the bathroom inside the bedroom is a plus. You can shut the bedroom door when you have company.
Pay special attention to the living room. I used to prefer a square or rectangled room. Couch on one wall with TV directly across the room on another wall.
Don't bother with apartment locators. They get commissions and don't have contracts with all apartment owners. They'll send you right past a good apartment to get to one where they get paid for referrals.Imagine a world where dogs took bad owners to the pound...
March 17th, 2011, 06:54 AM #12
First: Get a firearms permit.
Second : Go to the range and become proficient.
Third: Check out the area and neighbors @ midnight.
Fourth : Find an all night diner.
March 17th, 2011, 07:09 AM #13
- Join Date
- Oct 2001
- Blog Entries
Before you move in:
If you have a place in mind, talk to the people above you, below you and on the sides of you. Ask what they like/dislike about the place. Ask about management and how they seem to treat their tenants. Be mindful if you have kids living above you, you will hear them running around all the time. Run a police report on the street you are wanting to move into (Most local police websites have the ability to look through police reports for a street). Laundry status, does the place you are looking at have its own washer/dryer or does it have a community washer/dryers? I didn't mind community washer/dryers because I would do my clothes at odd hours and have several loads going at once.
Once you determine a place to live call at least two weeks before you move in to setup dates to setup services such as power, gas, water, internet, phone, etc. This way when you move in your not sitting on your thumbs waiting for something later. Dont forget to change all your mailing address, setup a mail forward (can do it on the USPS website and it cost a dollar) and notify the DMV you have a new address. Look up the tenant laws for your city/state so you know your rights!
After you picked a place:
Document Document Document. Take pictures and notes of everything damaged or looks damaged in the place and keep a copy of it and send it to the apartment manager. If you call maintaince document the time and the date and the reason anytime you do it. I just moved out of my place about 3 weeks ago. Had the carpets cleaned and pretty much had the place way cleaner than when I got it. I asked about the status of my deposit and they were claiming that the toilet was backed up when they checked over my place and will be charging me a "nominal" fee to unplunge it. I started pulling out my records and call dates about how many times I called about the toilet and never heard from them once. The apartment manager came back a few days and said they wouldn't be charging me for the toilet.
Setup automatic payments for rent and other utilities.
March 17th, 2011, 09:10 AM #14
Two points I'd through, first is to reinforce the documenting everything bit. All too easy after living in a place for a couple years, you think you treated it well, landlord says you owe $1,000 in damages. I've had to go to court for this one in the past (and thankfully came out ahead), get pictures, keep them.
Second thing, try to find a managed community, one run by a sizable company. I think this has already been touched on. But a large management company is going to have standards, and going to be able to fix things when they break.
If you find somewhere that isn't managed by a company, try to get references on the landlord. Sounds funny, but I've gone to court once, and had to threaten suit twice against crummy landlords, a lesson learned the hard way.Reason obeys itself; and ignorance does whatever is dictated to it.
March 17th, 2011, 11:54 AM #15
And don't miss a chance to chat up a cutie to ask what she thinks about the apartment complex!
In a nutshell:
Convenience - access to route to work, shopping, etc.
Noise vs your lifestyle
Up or down stairs
Lease vs month to month. Some go month to month after the first 6 month lease runs out.
SAFETY OF YOUR VEHICLE! A biggie.
And finally - Do you like the place or are you just tired of looking and are heading for a bad decision?Obama: The rich have the Federal Reserve and the poor have Harry Reid... LOL. Life really is unfair!
March 19th, 2011, 08:53 PM #16
Folks, thank you all for the wonderful advice, hints, and tips!
You are all wonderful and I thank you very much.Good job, friend-of-friends!
March 19th, 2011, 08:55 PM #17
Did you find a place yet? Or did we frighten you so much you're going to live in a cave?"Sometimes life is just what we make it."
March 19th, 2011, 09:30 PM #18
The cave may be cheaper...
Still looking. Trying to find a balance between price and location. I'd prefer not to live next door to meth heads if I can help it. In my neck of the woods its harder than you'd think!Good job, friend-of-friends!
June 4th, 2011, 06:09 PM #19
So, an update.
I finally found a place back on May 22. It was Sunday afternoon. My GF and I liked it, so we did the initial paperwork and then were going to come back by Monday morning to put down the deposit and start moving in. By Sunday evening, the place was gone, thanks to a certain little tornado.
I'd say most of the available apartments were in the southern half of Joplin, and now they are all gone. So the hunt was on; we figured we had to get something fast before all the other places got taken. We got lucky a week later after calling and looking all week. It was amazing how quickly every single room in Joplin and the surrounding communities got taken.
So now we've got a 1BR, 1 BA. It's an upstairs unit, all electric with water paid and it was partially furnished with table, oven, fridge, and washer/dryer, all for less than $500. Pretty happy.
I enjoy cooking (kinda dislike eating out) so I already got the kitchen outfitted. As long as I eat well, I'm happy enough to sleep on the floor...which I'll be doing for a few more weeks until we can afford a bedset.Good job, friend-of-friends!
June 4th, 2011, 07:47 PM #20
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