Apartment Features

This is just a partial list of apartment features to consider when shopping for your home.

  • Activities: Many places will have at least a few of the following available: basketball court, swimming pool, gym, tennis courts, walking trail, picnic areas, pet areas and maybe even a play area for children.
  • Appliances: Which appliances do you require? Some older buildings might not come with the basics, whereas others will have everything you need. You just need to decide which appliances are important to you: washer & dryer (or just a hookup), microwave, dish washer, oven/stove, garbage disposal, etc.
  • Bathrooms: How many bathrooms do you require? Do you need a tub in every one, or can you get by with shower stalls? Don't forget to turn on the shower to check water pressure.
  • Cable or Dish: Many complexes will include some sort of cable package, but if you need every channel there is, do your research. Some apartments might not let you put up a dish, so keep that in mind if you're using something like DirecTV or Dish Network.
  • Ceiling Fans: This may not be important to some, but others (including me!) want a ceiling fan in every room.
  • Fireplace: Some apartments come with fireplaces, either gas or wood, but many don't. Unlike a house, you can't add one later if you decide you can't live without it.
  • Internet: Anywhere there's a phone line, dial-up should be an option, but keep in mind that there are still a lot of areas without high-speed internet access. Most areas should have at least one of the popular broadband choices, ADSL or cable, but it's still a good idea to check in advance. If speed is important, be sure to compare DSL vs. cable speeds before signing up.
  • Kitchen Space: If you eat out 3 times a day, this probably isn't a big deal; however, some kitchens seriously lack counter and cabinet space, which many would find unacceptable.
  • Living Space: It's better to have too much than too little. If you go to small, you'll either be living with clutter, or spending extra money to put some of your belongings in storage.
  • Parking: Don't overlook parking space, especially if you have more than one vehicle. If you check during the day, there could be plenty of available parking spaces, but how about at night when everyone is home from work?
  • Pets: Many rentals will have strict policies when it comes to pets. Some might not allow them at all, while others might just require an additional security deposit. In some cases, the deposit can be pretty high and may not be refundable. Ask plenty of questions if you're unsure. Keep in mind that even when pets are allowed, a big dog that growls at children, or barks all night long, will probably be asked to leave.
  • Renter's Insurance: Even if the landlord doesn't require renter's insurance, it's usually pretty cheap and worth having.
  • Storage: Many apartments will at least have a small storage closet, usually accessed from the porch or balcony. Some offer storage buildings for an additional fee. Those that require a lot of storage should make sure there's a storage facility nearby--and be sure to check their prices, as they can vary quite a bit in some areas.
  • Water Beds: If you have a water bed, make sure they're allowed before moving it in. Not all complexes allow them, and some that do, may limit them to the bottom floor. Don't be surprised if you're required to take out additional renter's insurance to cover any damage resulting from a leak.