If one of your top priorities for 2011 is finding a new apartment, you no doubt want to accomplish your goal in as little time and with as little stress as possible. Whether you’ve been looking for a while or you’re planning to start your search now that the holiday season is over, here are five tips to help you find a great apartment:
- Determine what you want. You don’t want just any apartment, but one that’s right for you. This means you should think about what you want and then design a search around those parameters.
Most apartment hunters begin their search knowing how many bedrooms they want. But what about bathrooms? If you think you need two, have you considered whether one-and-a-half bathrooms would work? (If it would, giving up the half-bathroom could save you money in rent.)
Aside from basic considerations such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, take a moment to decide what other features are important to you. For instance, if you don’t own a dog, you might not care if a building is pet-friendly. On the other hand, you might want the flexibility of knowing you can get a dog later on. Already knowing what you want means not having to waste time visiting apartments that won’t fit the bill.
- Know how flexible you can be. Landlords may offer tenants different rental options, and you need to know what you feel comfortable with before you commit to anything. For instance, you might agree to a two-year lease so you can lock in a good rental rate. Or, if your goal is to rent an apartment for a year and then look to buy, a one-year lease is probably your best bet. However, if you’re concerned you may need to relocate because of a job you might want to find a landlord who’s open to a shorter term or offers a transfer clauses.
- Answer the roommate question. Living with roommates is an important decision to consider. Roommates can provide needed companionship and make your apartment living more affordable by splitting expenses but they are not for everyone. Before asking someone to room, weigh the pros and cons carefully. Apartment complexes almost always require everyone to be on the lease and therefore you are all held responsible.
- Anticipate the finances. It’s not enough to find an apartment you love; you must also be able to afford it. The biggest expense you’ll face is the monthly rent, but you must also be prepared to pay for utilities, security deposit, and other expenses. Keep in mind that most apartment communities require you to make at least 3 times the monthly rent to qualify. You may also qualify under a savings account.
- Take your search online. The Web has a wealth of resources for apartment hunters, including sites that let you search for apartments in the area you want at no charge. However, for even more personal assistance, let RentFAST, a FREE apartment locating service in Ann Arbor do it all for you! Just call Jennifer Fry at 734-669-5937 with your wish list, set your price range, bedroom size, pet preference, and more (remember Tip #1?) and you will be on your way to finding the perfect apartment!
You have signed the lease and are ready to move into your new apartment. However, there is one step that many people do not take seriously – completing the Apartment Inventory Checklist. This important process is vital to making sure you and your landlord are on the same page when it comes to the condition of the apartment upon move-in. If, when you move out, you don’t have a completed apartment checklist, you could be liable for damages in the apartment that were there before you.
The apartment checklist is a tool to provide written record of detailed aspects of the rental property and its visible and hidden condition. It’s also a good way to make a list of any repairs that you would like to the landlord to complete.
- Start in the bathrooms. Check the faucets to make sure there are no drips. Turn on the shower as well to check both the hot water and water pressure. Make a note of any visible stains, chips or scratches on the tub, sink, counter, walls and floor. Record anything out of the ordinary, such as the towel holder being dented or broken, light fixtures or outlets not working or ripples in the flooring from previous water damage. Always flush the toilets and gauge the force of the water.
- Check out all appliances. Turn on each burner on the stove until you see the coils start to glow. Turn on the oven and check to see it is heating up. Inspect the freezer and refrigerator, paying special attention to the seals on the doors. Turn on the heat and air conditioner if possible. Any other appliances that come with the apartment, such as a microwave, garbage disposal, dishwasher, washer/dryer or garage door opener should also be tested. Don’t forget to check each electrical outlet in every room as well.
- Check the windows and walls. Record every dent, ding, peel and hole on all the walls in all the rooms on the apartment checklist. Open and close the doors of each room making sure they are operational. Look behind doors, especially for doorstops so you don’t punch a hole in the wall with the doorknob accidentally. Open and close each window and make note of holes in the screens.
- Check the rooms. Do a complete inspection of each room in the apartment and its features. Some other things to remember on the apartment checklist are checking the door locks, inspecting the furnace and water heater, testing the smoke detectors, caulking around sinks, tubs and showers and carpet tears and stains.
Once you’ve done a complete walkthrough and finished a detailed apartment checklist for the apartment, sign the document. Your landlord should sign it and both of you should receive a copy. When you move out, the apartment will be compared to the condition as outlined on the apartment checklist.
Taking time out to complete this important checklist will be worth your while in the end.
There are over 100 apartment communities in the greater Ann Arbor area. These communities are made up of primarily one, two and three bedroom units. The range of prices and square footages vary greatly. The average rent for a one bedroom is $750.00/month, 2 bedrooms – $1000.00/month and three bedrooms $1300.00/month for a typical 12 month lease. The size can range from 700 – 2000 square feet.
The rental market in this area has been fairly soft although we have begun to see occupancy figures rise. Note that the above figures are approximations. Many concessions are still being offered because the future of the market is somewhat unclear.
Ann Arbor also offers many privately owned rentals such as single family homes, duplexes and condos. The general rule of thumb in figuring rental rates is approximately $1.00 per square foot. The size of the property can range greatly from an 800 square foot duplex to a 3000+ square foot private home!
Unlike apartments, the lease term for private rentals is typically twelve months. Apartments offer more flexibility from furnished month to month corporate apartments to unfurnished short term leases. Many require a monthly premium for a short term lease. This also depends on market conditions and the time of year the lease is executed.
Furnished corporate apartments are the most flexible option in lease terms but can also be the most expensive. Corporate apartments are all inclusive with furniture, housewares, linens, utilities and local phone service being provided. The cost per month for this option is approximately $1500.00 – $2500.00 for a one or two bedroom apartment.
If you are interested in having a free personalized apartment search done for you, please call RentFAST, a division of the Charles Reinhart Company at (734) 669-5885. We look forward to the opportunity to earn your business!
The Charles Reinhart Company, with more than 39 years of experience in relocation services, provides full service to renters. Reinhart can assist renters interested in apartment community living, as well as those interested in renting single-family homes, duplexes and condos.
Reinhart’s RentFAST department assists renters looking for apartments throughout the greater Ann Arbor area. The RentFAST team identifies your complete housing needs including location, price, amenities and lease term as well as conduct a complete market search. The RentFAST team will help you determine the options you are interested in, schedule appointments for you and provide you with a complete itinerary and directions. Any further assiastance is also provided by the RentFAST team as needed.
RentFAST also assists with temporary living, working with a number of providers of corporate apartments. In addition, RentFAST has the capability of putting together extremely competitive corporate housing options through its contacts with leasing agents and furniture and home ware providers.
RentFAST represents more than 150 properties in Washtenaw County. Follow-up surveys, which are sent to clients at the close of each transaction, have been overwhelmingly favorable throughout RentFAST’s thirteen year history. The free services provided by RentFAST are second to none.
Single-family Home Rentals
Through its Commercial Real Estate division, Reinhart provides free property management services to owners of income properties throughout Washtenaw County. Four property managers handle approximately 200 single-family residences and condominiums for these owners. There are always rentals available and the property managers are eager to assist in the process.
For more information contact Jennifer Fry at (734) 669-5937.