How to Find an Apartment: Looking for Red Flags

find an apartmentLet’s say you’re trying to find an apartment.  You go on a tour, and the property looks pretty good, but something still seems off to you.  More often than not, it pays to trust your gut when trying to find an apartment.  If something’s not right, do not pass go, do not sign the lease, and do not let the landlord collect your $200 security deposit.  Before you start putting together your moving checklist, make sure the apartment you’ve chosen is really the right one for you.  Run far and run fast if any of these red flags come up as you evaluate apartments.

Mold Infestation

This red flag goes at the top of the list.  If you find an apartment with even the faintest sign of mold, cross it off your list.  Mold is difficult to get rid of and can make you seriously ill.  Unfortunately, because mold doesn’t always smell, you might not know right away that a potential apartment has mold, so check under the sinks, around the refrigerator, and around the air conditioning units and vents.

Unresponsive Apartment Management

There are few things in this world that are more frustrating than having  broken air conditioning in the middle of August and not being able to get ahold of your landlord.  An unavailable management or maintenance staff is a major minus when trying to find an apartment that won’t make you want to pull your hair out for the duration of your lease.  As you liaise with the apartment, they should be attentive to a fault, and eager to help you find an apartment unit.  You should also check reviews online to see what current and former tenants have to say about the responsiveness of management to renter problems.

Signs of Water Damage

Water damage in an apartment is a sign of potential plumbing problems and often means you should steer clear of the apartment. Ceiling water damage might indicate that you have ahead of you some sleepless rainy nights with a leaky roof, while water damage under a sink could be a prelude to ruined toiletries and bathroom storage.

Noise Levels

If possible, visit the apartment complex at different times of the day when you’re making your decision.  An apartment that is tranquil at two in the afternoon may suffer from noise pollution from a nearby bar at night, or a neighbor might have a dog that barks incessantly while he or she is away in the mornings.  It’s best to find an apartment that is enjoyable to live in at all times of day.

Excessive Fees

There are some fees and deposits that come standard with a new apartment, like a security deposit and pet deposit.  However, if you find yourself looking at exorbitant “move-in fees,” too many non-refundable fees, or extra charges that are hidden in your lease, say no thanks and find an apartment with more reasonable rates.

Share Your Tips from ApartmentSearch

What red flags did you watch out for when trying to find an apartment?  What do you wish you had known?  Connect with on Twitter and Facebook.  For more tips to find an apartment, keep reading our Apartment Living blog!