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Apartment hunting: Physical Attributes

Ally Jol | Interrobang | Culture | May 26th, 2014

An apartment may seem great at first glance, but before you sign that lease, Jake Collins, a first-time apartment renter, suggests making sure to look for these following physical attributes in your soon to be new apartment to save headaches.

The walls should have a fresh coat of paint on them and no cracks. “When [my fiancée and I] moved into our place nothing had been done. The paint was peeling off the walls and the painter had to paint while we were moving our stuff in,” he said.

Solution: Don't rent a unit with cracks in the wall. It's obvious that there is something wrong and just because they say that they say it can be fixed does not mean that it will be fixed properly. Landlords want to make money not spend money.

If the apartment has carpet, make sure to examine for stains, holes and burns. The carpet must be cleaned and shampooed before you move in but that will only get rid of so much filth.

Solution: “Try and look for a place with laminate and tile floors,” Collins suggested. You will have people walking all over the carpet with their dirty shoes when you move in, which will ruin it.

Don't forget to look up! Make sure to look for water damage or cracks. Water damage can cause the materials in the ceiling to weaken and break off. Not to mention it's such an eyesore.

Solution: Point it out right away to your landlord. “If the damage looks really bad, no matter how nice the rest of the apartment is I would just scrap the whole idea of even living there. You don't want to deal with that kind of mess,” said Collins.

Awkward spaces can be a downer if you didn't plan for it a head of time. “There were apartments that seemed really open and nice, but then when there's no good wall to put your couch up against or no plug close to where you want to put your TV you quickly realize that it's just not practical,” said Collins.

Solution: It's important to picture the furniture you want in each room while you're viewing each room in the unit. There are even apps and websites that can help you visualise this. “Sometimes you can find the layout of the apartment on the company's website and that helps,” he said.

Turning on a the stove and oven and checking the inside of fridge should all be done to make sure that the appliances within the household are functioning properly and also clean. “We were shown before and after pictures of our appliances and I couldn't even believe how dirty they were before the cleaning lady went to work on them,” said Collins. “I originally thought that they were brand new.”

Solution: Address the issue right away with your landlord. “I guess you really just want to make sure that the building manager or whoever may be in charge is aware of the issues,” Collins said.

A nice size closet in the bedroom, pantry and cupboard space in the kitchen, linen closet and a shoe and coat closet are a must, but you'll also want an extra closet or two to put away clutter.

Solution: Closets and shelves will become your best friend. “Closets alone can only hold so much, but if you install some shelves in there then I find it really helps,” said Collins. You can also find excellent bookcases, bins and other storage items at department stores.

How do you watch TV if the sockets in the living room don't work? Or what about in the kitchen to plug in a microwave or toaster? “When I moved into my first apartment we found out the hard way that we didn't have any electricity in our kitchen and bathrooms,” said Collins.

Solution: You don't need one of those fancy electricity testers. “Bring your phone charger with you, plug it into the wall, and if it starts charging your phone then you know it works,” Collins suggested.

“From my experience, the bathroom is like a breeding ground for mold,” Collins said. So checking the bathroom walls around the shower, tub, toilet and sink for any spots would be a good idea. Mold is hazardous to your health and should not be present in any living environment.

Solution: Point it out to the building manager. He or she needs to take care of this right away. “I mean obviously if there is mold, chances are that others won't want to move in either,” said Collins.
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