Moving Advice

AdnamaMay 26, 2005

My DH and I have only lived in an apartment once, and it was a disaster. (He rented it w/out my prior approval as we weren't yet engaged and then I paid for his mistake a year later...) The landlord from hell who didn't fix anything at all ever--we got SICK as a result, okay? Neighbors from hell--domestic disturbances, drug busts, etc. Not enough laundry facilities for the size of the complex... I could rant for a while. Anyway... We are in a GREAT duplex, perfect place, month-to-month, love our neighbors, they love us, the landlord loves us (we put a garden in the weed-choked neglected yard & created flower beds)... We have to move; we got laid off and need to find a cheaper place. I guess it must be an apartment... I NEED ADVICE.

DH and I both grew up in houses and lived w/ relatives while in college. This duplex is only the second place either of us has ever rented. I already have some good ideas about what to look for--I will be counting washing machines and scoping the 'hood. But what else? What to look for? I know what neighborhood I want, and we can't afford it. What to do to avoid the landlord from hell? Should I hang around the complex and kinda "grab people" and ask them about the landlord and life in the complex? Is it cool to knock on doors and ask these questions? (I'm in Austin, TX, BTW.) What sorts of things indicate the quality-of-life in the complex? Are prospective tenants ever allowed to pick their exact unit?

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marie26

Here is a great site that might help you. Go to: http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/TX-Austin.html

I moved out of Round Rock at the beginning of this year. If you look up my name in this forum, you will see some of the problems I had when I moved out of that apartment complex.

Some of my advice would be to have the landlord put in writing everything about breaking a lease. We took their word for it and it caused a lot of headaches. Considering you would prefer to live in a duplex, you might want to break a lease if you get new jobs real soon. Actually, the reason we ended up at that apartment was because of layoffs and we had to move out of our rental "dream" home.

Ask how old the carpet is and if it's old, make sure that this is documented and photographed. You don't want to end up paying for them to replace it.

Some apartment complexes give you a half hour of free maintenance (putting up photographs, installing your washing machine and dryer, etc).

Are pets allowed? How much is the security deposit? If you don't have any pets, find out if there are any living nearby. Are they noisy? I prefer a corner unit because of the noise factor.

Remember, upstairs is hotter than downstairs and will probably cost a lot more to keep cool. See if you can find out how much it is for electricity per month. In Round Rock, we were paying about $220.00 a month for a small 3 bedroom apartment on the first floor. We paid less at the house we rented and I still think that we were paying for another apartment as well as ours. But of course that could never be proven even though they agreed that our thermostat was broken and replaced it.

What hours does the office keep? Do they deliver packages to your door? If not, do they bother to tell you that you have a delivery? My last place didn't deliver or let me know if something arrived. They also closed up for a while whenever they felt like it so if I'd come for a package, they might not be there, even if they told me they would.

We had a garage that was attached and used it for extra storage. Ask where the reserved parking spots are and how much they are. Are they covered? If you have 2 cars, make sure it's okay to park both of them.

Drive around the complex and see if kids are just hanging out, unsupervised. We had a family next door that let their little ones out with just a little bit older sibling.

I would drive around the place at night at well.

Is it a gated community. Ours had a gate but didn't have any remotes for it so you had to stop and put in the code each time, which was a pain.

I can't think of anything else right now. Good luck in finding an apartment and also in the job search. We ended up moving to another state when my husband found another job. So, things do end up getting better.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 12:49AM
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Adnama

Thank you Marie!

Good luck in your new state!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 1:30AM
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marie26

You are welcome.

Anyone who is looking to rent a new apartment should look up the site I posted in my previous post and just find the city you are looking in.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 3:26PM
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Adnama

Marie, I used the site you suggested. Thanks so much! It'll be a few months before we move, but I have picked out the complex already! Actually, it's one I kinda had my eye on (a friend lives there and I've spent a lot of time in her apt and know how much she pays--not too much!) and now I know what questions to ask. Also, that website confirmed what I thought about that complex and totally scared me away from a couple others I was considering.

I think you may have saved me a lot of money!

Thanks!

~Amanda

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 4:06AM
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marie26

I'm so glad I could help. My daughter actually had found that site but it was after we moved into our last place. I probably whouldn't have moved there had I read the comments on the site first.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 11:35AM
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