If a standard dormitory isn’t a good enough housing option for you, you might want to look for an apartment or just a room to rent. But finding a good apartment can be a difficult quest for a student, especially if you’re on the hunt for affordable options. But the price isn’t the only criterion you need to pay attention to when scouting out the best rental deals. Even if you rely on homework auction sites, you’ll need to spend long hours studying and preparing your assignments. So, you need to make sure you’re choosing a truly safe and comfortable environment.
A bad landlord or poor rental property can add a lot of stress to your college life. There’s so much to think about when you’re looking for a new place to live that sometimes you can miss the warning signs for potential problems or even fall prey to rental scams. In today’s article, we’re going to point out four red flags that you should look out for when searching for your first student apartment.
No or Few property Pictures
In the age of camera phones, it’s easy for anyone to take multiple pictures of the property and upload them along with the listing details. No reasonable landlord would expect good tenants to be interested in a place that provides just a text description or includes one or two shots of the property. As a prospective renter, you want to see the pictures of all of the main areas of the property when you’re hunting for a place to live. That includes at least one picture each for a living area, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Thus, you’ll be able to weed out places that don’t fit your needs long before you put in the time to schedule a walkthrough to see the property in person.
If the listing doesn’t include enough pictures to get an idea of what the property currently looks like, that’s a possible warning sign that the property has fallen into disrepair or that there are some unattractive parts that the listing agent is trying to hide from you. Though dilapidation might not be a big problem for a student short on cash, you still have to know in advance what state your preferred accommodation is in.
Another red flag you want to pay attention to is when there’s a major disconnection between listing photos and descriptions provided. There may be serious issues with the property’s condition or, in the worst-case scenario, you can end up being scammed.
Rushing through the Viewing
Once you actually get to see the property, your agent should give you enough time to actually check it out, not just walk you in and out of the door. Of course, you don’t need to scrutinize everything down to the baseboards but you’ll probably want to make sure that all the doors open and close properly, water pressure is adequate, windows don’t stick, etc. All of this will give you a good idea of how well your landlord takes care of their property. If your property manager tries to rush you through the apartment, they might hope that you’ll miss potential problems if they go fast enough.
Make sure you have enough time to get a feel for the place you’re interested in and get the person showing you the apartment to answer any questions that occur to you when you’re on site.
Common Spaces are a Mess
Another important aspect to be on the alert for is the upkeep of the grounds and common areas. It can be easier to disguise the quality of an average apartment in a complex but it’s much harder to hide the quality of the grounds and common areas on short notice. Before or after you look at the inside of your property, scout off the rest of it. Are the machines in the laundry room in good condition? Is the fencing or playground equipment rusty? Is there garbage piled up anywhere? Are the grounds well-maintained and free of potential hazards? Also, if you live in a climate with snow, learn about their snow removal policies.
The grounds and common areas can indicate the property management’s responsiveness to problems, their financial ability to handle unforeseen issues, and the general state of the neighborhood.
Vague Terms of Lease
You need to read the lease carefully and make sure that everyone is on the same page about the terms of renting the property. If the landlord promised you a discount or a deal before signing official documents, double-check that’s reflected in the paperwork. Insist that it be added if it isn’t there. This way, you’ll have proof of what was promised in case of a dispute down the road.
College is one of the best periods in many people’s lives. So, don’t make a poor renting experience get in the way of your studies and overall well-being. Keep in mind the warning signs mentioned above and go on to search for your ideal apartment!
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