For the millenial generation, renting, NOT buying real estate, is the New Frontier. Today, over one third of the population rents where they live, and these renters are saving nearly $600 a month in repairs and mortgage fees compared to those who buy homes. Renting is also a great way to stay mobile for any job prospects or big adventures you might be planning, as leases are definitely more flexible than mortgages and most apartments come equipped with ready-to-use utilities like heat and water.
While we firmly believe in apartment living over buying, renting still needs to be done right. So before you start googling “beautiful apartment buildings,” take a moment to make up a checklist that includes the following items:
1.Are the beautiful apartment buildings you’re looking at well maintained?
While it can be tempting to rent a loft the minute you find it (vacant Philly lofts are like the real estate equivalent of the unicorn), it is very important that you check that your land lord or professional renting company provides on-site maintenance services. The best apartments stay the best because they have qualified people to look after them, and there’s nothing more bothersome than having to be an amateur plumber on your way to work one day when the sink drain gives out. Worst of all, in places without reliable maintenance, you could lose out on your security deposit for any repairs you don’t make right away.
2. Are these beautiful apartment buildings safe?
Are all your doors and windows equipped with strong locks? Is there a swipe or password system to get into the building? Does your unit come equipped with a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector? Are the back stairs sturdy, or are you praying they won’t cave every time you take out the trash? These are just a few safety features to look for when viewing apartments for rent. And speaking of safety…
3. How’s the neighborhood?
What is your apartment around? If it’s a park full of school children, you’re probably good, but if you’re renting a suspiciously cheap apartment next to a shady bowling alley and a pawn shop, you might want to reconsider your decision. A good way to research the safety of a neighborhood is to go to google maps and mark the locations of the apartments you’re considering. Then ask around about what’s there. Beyond safety concerns, you want to make sure you’re not living out in the boonies and that wherever you live is close to a grocery store, restaurants, entertainment, etc.
Be sure to comment with any more suggestions for finding the perfect apartment! Maps and neighborhood recommendations in the Philadelphia area are especially welcome, as this author may or may not be looking to move pretty soon.