How to Compare Apartments

Comparing apartments can be difficult. Determine which apartment is right for you and make sure you end up getting the most value for your money by examining the following aspects of apartment living.

How to Compare Apartments

Lease terms and conditions
When you’re comparing apartments, one of the most important concerns will be lease terms and conditions. Chief among them are the financial terms. Remember that rent may not be the only monthly expense associated with your apartment. Consider these additional expenses:

  • Utility bills that aren’t included in rent
  • Late payment charges
  • Payments for parking spaces
  • Amenity fees

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The upfront costs of applying for apartments should also factor into your decision. These costs can include:

  • Security deposits
  • Application fees
  • Non-refundable pet deposit fees

In addition to financial terms, make sure that lease conditions will work with your lifestyle. Are pets allowed in your new apartment? How long do you plan to stay at your place? And if you think you may need to move soon, can you sublet the apartment or alter your lease dates?

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Neighborhood
Consider how the following neighborhood features might affect you:

  • Access to public transportation
  • Proximity to shopping and entertainment areas
  • Distance from your office or school

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Safety features
Safety features within your apartment and around the apartment community should also factor into your decision when comparing apartments. Some safety features may include:

  • Fire extinguishers in your unit and outside buildings
  • Deadbolt locks on doors
  • Functioning smoke detectors
  • Outside lighting
  • Gated entrances
  • Emergency exits

Apartment amenities
Sometimes when several apartment communities are comparable in price, apartment amenities can make all the difference. Consider which apartment amenities are important to you and which you’re likely never to use:

  • Pools
  • Tennis courts
  • Concierge services
  • Laundry services or laundry facilities
  • Apartment workout rooms
  • Bike racks
  • Barbeque areas
  • Shuttle vans

In-apartment features
When it comes down to it, we all want to be comfortable within our living spaces. Apartment features can go a long way in making us feel truly at home. Apartment features vary greatly depending on a community’s age and location, and the best way to get a handle on them is to be thorough when you tour apartments. When you walk through an apartment, examine the following apartment features:

  • Usable square footage and layout
  • Outdoor spaces like patios or decks
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Condition of carpets or hardwood
  • Lighting features including overhead lighting and window placement
  • Amount of storage space
  • Age and condition of appliances
  • Type of furnace
  • Water pressure

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Comparing apartments on paper
Still need help comparing apartments? Make a checklist. Start by listing all of the apartment features and apartment amenities that matter most to you. Next draw a table with several columns — one column for each apartment community you’re considering and one for your features criteria. List your criteria in the leftmost column, and then place check marks in the table whenever an apartment community meets your criteria. Comparing apartments on paper just might make the right decision clear to you.

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