If your lease is coming to an end this summer or you're simply ready to rent an apartment in another location, make sure you have a solid plan for picking the perfect abode. Here are five tips for apartment hunting during the summer months.
Learn about average air-conditioning costs. First, make sure the apartment has air-conditioning. If it does, remember that the costs to keep your unit cool will depend on the size of the apartment, the floor you're on, and how much sunlight floods the area on a daily basis. Make sure you're aware of typical electric bill costs during the summer for each apartment you look at so you have a fair idea of what your monthly expenses will be. Few landlords will cover the electric bill. Ask landlords what the average electric bills are during the summer. You can also use an online calculator like this one from EnergyExperts.org to get an estimate based on location.
Ask about the pet policy. Does the apartment community allow for pets? How many and how large can the pets in each apartment be? Is there a dog park in the community? Don't be afraid to ask how many residents in the building you are interested in have pets and find out what the venue's pet policy is. If the landlord allows for larger dogs and you end up living very close to the dog park, you'll need to be prepared for strong smells during the hot summer months and the risk of attracting fleas around your home. If you have a dog yourself, consider whether your pet will be living in a safe and healthy environment.
Be prepared to act fast. Some landlords will be able to offer a great deal on the spot and can hold your apartment with a deposit. Plan on having some extra cash in the bank before you take that community tour so you can make a decision if needed. A good apartment will go quickly -- especially during the summer, which is peak rental season in most areas of the country -- so if it meets your criteria and you can get a great deal for it, be prepared to put down a deposit and sign that lease immediately.
Check out all available units. If the only available apartments are on the ground floor, consider the pros and cons of being on the first level. Remember that ground-floor apartments are easier to break in to and living on the ground floor during a summer party season can become a problem. Even if a higher floor apartment is slightly more expensive, you may end up saving yourself a lot of headaches and stress by skipping the great deal on the ground floor.
Learn what to expect year-round.Looking at an apartment during the summer can be deceptive. If you live in a college town, for example, an apartment complex might be quiet and tranquil while the students are away, but as soon as fall semester starts so might late-night parties. Get a better idea of what the community is like year-round by looking at the community's Facebook page, viewing testimonials on the apartment company's website, and reading unbiased reviews across the Web. Sites like Apartment Ratings can help you get a better idea of what it's like to be a renter at the complex. If there are issues, such as noisy neighbors, this will be reflected online.