What to look for in an apt?

drewemMay 1, 2012

We are having our house built, but it will not be ready in time for the start of the school year. We are going to rent a short term apartment to get the kids in the new school district, then move again when home is completed. We have never lived in an apt, and I don't know what to look for. Location to the school is number one.

Kids are going to be 6 and 8 yr old this summer.

Do we look for a ground floor apartment because of the kids? There are 2 locations that are good, they are across the street from one another, and by the same management company.

Thanks for any input!

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

The worst problem I've had in an apartment was from noise from upstairs. I would want to be on top, however high that is.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 4:26PM
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camlan

Well, if the kids run in the house, or have noisy toys, living upstairs is going to generate a lot of complaints from the downstairs neighbors.

So it depends. If the two kids can be quiet inside, with little to no running and jumping around, an upper floor apartment will be nicer--no noise overhead. If the kids are used to being fairly noisy inside, well, I'd recommend a ground floor apartment to prevent the neighbors from complaining.

On the other hand, if the kids have bikes and other toys that will need to be carried in and out of the apartment, being on the ground floor might be easier.

Also remember that everything you bring into the house has to be hauled from your parking spot to the building and then through the building to your unit. So ask about parking and if there are spaces where you can pull up near the door to unload things.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 8:01PM
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harry_wild

A 4 star hotel would be a perfect temporary housing solution - kind of like a vacation while living in your area if you can afford it! Otherwise, I look at renting a townhouse or a patio home. Apartment life is very disruptive in general; and if you are use to living in a separated home with no common walls - it will be a super surprise too you the noise.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 6:15AM
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drewem

No, 4 star hotels simply aren't an option, lol. I would like a condo or townhouse for the extra room, but its hard to find one that will accept a flexiable 6-9 month'short-term' lease. That is why I was thinking an apartment is the way to go. Idealy the house would be ready in August, but there is no way possible.

Kids do run, but are better than toddlers! Can be loud too.

Thanks for the point about lugging everything from the car to the apt. Now it is a short trip through the garage to the kitchen, so that will be different.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:05AM
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camlan

Some apartments have short-term parking spaces right by the doors; just 15 or 20 minutes, so you can unload things and get them upstairs and then move your car.

Make sure there's enough parking. You might get assigned spaces or it might be a free-for-all, but make sure that all your cars can be parked in the parking lot. Circling the block 20 times for a space to open on the street gets old really fast.

Also, check out if there are any parks nearby where the kids can play outdoors. Your kids sound young enough that you might still want to supervise them when outside, so you don't want to be making long treks to the park.

What about laundry facilities? Great if they are in-unit, good if they are on every floor, okay if they are somewhere in the building. If there are shared laundry facilities, check on the number of machines and the number of people who will be using them. Ten washers and dryers to 20 apartments? Probably not a problem. Ten washers and dryers for a building of 60 units? Problem.

In any case, check out the nearest laundramat. It's a lot faster to lug everything to the landramat and get it all done at once, in about 2 hours of your time, then to spend all day running up and down, switching your laundry from washer to dryer and hoping no one comes in before you get there and grabs the machines when you still need to do a couple of loads.

Do make sure that there's a supermarket relatively nearby, and any other shops/services that you use regularly.

Try to inspect the actual unit you will be renting. You will get a better idea of how much street noise you'll hear and what condition it is in.

Take pictures before you move things in, noting any damage that you see. "Damage" includes holes in the walls from picture hooks, scuff marks on the floor, faded spots on carpeting, loose handles, chipped countertops. Even if you look at it and think, "Well, it's not so bad. I can live with it for 6 months," document it. You will most likely be asked to fill out a document listing the condition of the apartment when you move in. Unless it has just been renovated, it will most likely show signs of wear and tear. Indicate these. There are unscrupulous landlords out there who will try to keep your security deposit over these things.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 3:42PM
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MargaretPMcCord

Having 2 playful kids, I recommend you get the apartment upstairs to avoid complaints from other tenants. And I recommend you make the best choice of apartment for you not to regret but enjoy your very first experience in living in an apartment..

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:14AM
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chibimimi

Check out the cars in the parking lot! Drive by in the evening or early on a weekend morning. If the cars look well-maintained, chances are the neighbors are the kind to be careful around the complex.

I would also ask the manager what is the mix of ages in the complex. Young families are more likely to be forgiving of noise than older people; older tenants are less likely to cause it than college-age residents (late at night) or young families (throughout the day).

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:49PM
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kushy28

I suggest you to take on 1st or 2nd floors in a fully residential area where you can get all things easily and at the same time near to the schools.The place you are selecting should be safe enough when you are not available also.Ground floors normally do not have good ventilation, noise pollution is more and safety from strangers will be less.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:08AM
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kushy28

I suggest you to take on 1st or 2nd floors in a fully residential area where you can get all things easily and at the same time near to the schools.The place you are selecting should be safe enough when you are not available also.Ground floors normally do not have good ventilation, noise pollution is more and safety from strangers will be less.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:09AM
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