Note: This post was submitted to Student Caffé by Angus Powell. Angus is an entrepreneur and the founder of Linthorpe Hall 248, an apartment building that aims to provide quality accommodations to students at affordable rates. Angus loves to socialize and travel to different cities and small towns across the UK. We would like to thank him for his submission and credit him as the author of this blog post.
Some people love living in apartments, but for others, it’s a nightmare. Actually, though, apartments can be the perfect budget accommodation option when you are traveling (if you book through Airbnb or VRBO), or when you are a student. Nowadays there are many apartment buildings to choose from, but it is not always easy to find one where you feel comfortable and get your money’s worth. Whereas good apartments can result in good experiences, a bad apartment can make your home life miserable.
Here are eight things you should look for when you’re shopping around for a new place to live:
1. Safety and Security: No matter where you choose to live, you should feel safe. When evaluating an apartment building, do a thorough security check. Try to find out:
- Do the main doors have locks?
- Are there security cameras inside or outside of the building?
- What are the chances of someone unwelcome walking into the building?
- How long (if ever) is the building accessible to the public?
- Do they have full-time security guards on staff?
- Do they have first aid-trained staff on site?
- Are the entrances and exits well lit?
2. Cleanliness: Apartment buildings that aren’t well maintained can be dingy or downright disgusting. Pay attention to the cleanliness of communal areas: the lobby, the pool, the gym, the mailroom, etc. If these areas look like they haven’t been given a good once over in a few weeks, it doesn’t say anything good about building management. You want to see clean, brightly lit hallways and rooms that are free of dust and mold. Your nose will be able to pick up on anything that your eyes miss.
3. Natural light: You’re going to be spending a lot of time in your apartment, so natural light is a must. Yes, you can plug in plenty of fixtures to light up the room, but you won’t get the same mood boost that you would from sunlight. Plus, your electric bill will jump if you have to leave the lights on all day long. Look for an apartment with lots of windows.
4. Prime location: No matter how awesome the apartment, you don’t want to choose something that’s way across town from campus. Proximity, if not to the college itself, then at least to public transportation, is key! Choose a location that is close to the amenities you need: some affordable restaurants, grocery stores, a bus or metro stop, etc.
5. Wifi: It’s 2018, right? Apart from electricity and water, having a good wifi connection is crucial! If you’re lucky, you’ll find a building with a landlord that bundles wifi in with your utilities or you’ll find a building with free wifi in the lobby. If you’re not, you’ll need to make sure that the service provider you want to use offers to hook up internet connections in the building. If you’re considering living in a campus-owned apartment building, you may find that internet is already supplied by the school. Make sure to ask about wifi, no matter where you look to live. Poor connectivity is a big turn off.
6. Common areas: Apartment living, especially in a college town, gives you the opportunity to meet students who you might not get to interact with in class or on campus. Comfortable common areas in apartment buildings are great places to relax, hang out with other residents, and exchange stories. Does your potential apartment have a gym, a pool, or a movie or game room?
7. Laundry facilities or service: The more services that are in your building, the easier your life will be. Instead of searching for a laundromat, you’ll be able to do your laundry on site (don’t forget quarters!). You’ll save time on chores and can be productive with the time you saved—no more sitting around watching the machines run. Just set a timer on your phone and remember to switch out your loads promptly. If you’re really lucky, your apartment building will provide laundry machines in each unit instead of a communal laundry room.
8. Quality fixtures: Other than utilities like water and electricity, your apartment should have workable appliances (oven, stove, fridge, microwave) and quality fixtures (kitchen sink, bathroom sink, toilets, showers). When you schedule a tour to check out an apartment, make sure that everything works and looks to be made of quality materials. Countertops with knife marks in them and rusty appliances are not good signs.
Experiences you get while living in an apartment:
- You get the independence you have wanted for years. This independence plays a significant role in making you a better person and teaches you a lot about being self-sufficient.
- Friends you make in your building may be different from the friends that you make in class or at work. People on your floor may become similar to roommates in that you live with them, stay up late together, hang out together, eat together, celebrate together, share problems, and bond. This kind of friendship teaches you things that you won’t learn if you live in a house or at home with your parents. It’s similar to dorm living, especially if many of your fellow apartment dwellers are students.
- Living in an apartment gives you the opportunity to live your life on your own terms and in your own way without having to answer to your parents or siblings.
If you have any tips or experiences with apartment living that you would like to share with us, feel free to leave a comment below!