Needs VS Wants in an Apartment

Apartment Amenities: Needs vs Wants

You are getting ready to go apartment hunting and have determined your monthly rent budget and possible locations. The next step is to schedule on site visits. Sure, you want a comfy place that will hold all of your stuff, but what about the extras? “Extras” are known as “amenities” in apartment lingo. Here are a few of the most common and popular amenities that landlords offer to entice renters. Take a look and see which ones are “musts” and which ones you can live without (and not pay for).

In-unit washer and dryer. Being able to do laundry within one’s home has made it the top of the “need” list of practically every apartment seeker. It’s not only convenient, but a lot cheaper plus, you can do your laundry whenever you want and not be restricted by other tenants’ use or specific laundry room hours.

Energy-efficient appliances. Today’s renters are concerned about the environment and demand appliances that don’t waste resources. Look for appliances that have Energy Star ratings, and ask the landlord what the average utility costs are for the unit you’re interested in.

Online rent payment and maintenance requests. Few people write checks these days and even fewer enjoy the process. Most apartments have a website with a tenant portal for paying rent and submitting maintenance requests. This offers the freedom to pay rent at any time of day or night and not have to play phone tag if you need work done in your apartment.

High-speed internet. Which ISP does the apartment complex use? How reliable is it? Use your phone to check connectivity in the unit for speed and hot spots.

Pets allowed. Believe it or not, some apartment complexes do not allow pets of any kind. If you have a pet, you can cross those places off your list. You will find, however, that more communities are pet-friendly and offer amenities such as fenced dog parks and “doggie stations” throughout the property.

Security doors. Look for secured outer doors that are accessible only by code, key or card offer an extra layer of security, as well as provide a barrier against unwelcome solicitors. Be sure to ask if there is a lock-out policy. Some apartments will charge a fee to tenants who find themselves locked out.

Community amenities. Most apartment complexes have a swimming pool, unless it is located in a climate where it would not be practical. Other popular shared amenities include clubhouses, coffee bars and fitness centers.

Other popular wants vs. needs include:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Balcony or patio
  • Granite countertops
  • Covered parking
  • Package acceptance or package lockers
  • Well maintained pool and grounds

While it’s great to have some little extras in your new home, just be mindful of the cost. Many of these amenities are offered in the form of higher rent. While it may be tempting to have some luxuries in your apartment, be realistic about whether or not you really need them and if they offset the added expense.

At Vision Communities, we are committed to creating the best apartment communities for you and your family. We feature communities with great amenities, with multiple bedroom layouts, in desirable areas such as Polaris, Clintonville, and downtown Columbus. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.

types of apartment deposits

Guide to Apartment Deposits

You’ve found an apartment that you love, your application was approved and now it’s time to sign the least. Yay! You’re almost there. Before the landlord hands over the keys, there is one more step – cash deposits.

Security deposit. A security deposit is a fee your landlord collects as a guarantee against future payment of rent and/or repairing any damages to the unit after you’ve moved out. Typically, a security deposit is equal to the first month’s rent. In some cases, the landlord may request both the first and last month’s rent in advance. In actuality, a landlord can charge whatever they want as a security deposit, however, most states have limitations. If you break your lease or cause excessive damage to the apartment, you will not get your security deposit back. If the landlord needs to make repairs to the unit and they are less than the amount of your security deposit, they will refund the balance to you.  So taking good care of your apartment while you’re living there is important as is cleaning up and repair any minor damages (like nails holes in the walls) when you move out.

Pet deposit. These days, practically all landlords charge a pet deposit. The amount varies and may be higher if you have more than one pet. The reasoning behind this charge is simple — the money will be applied to fixing any damages caused by your pet. You may also have to pay a monthly rental fee for your pet(s). A rough estimate is approximately $50-$100 a month. Also, regarding pets, most apartments have restrictions on the size of the animal and certain breeds.

Utility deposits. These deposits are usually required by individual utility companies and not a landlord, but they are worth mentioning. If you are renting your first apartment and have no history of paying utilities, you will be asked to pay a deposit for any utilities not included in your monthly rent, such as gas, electricity, water and trash.  The same applies if you have less-than-perfect credit.  Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and even if you have an established track record with utility companies, you could still be asked to pay a deposit when changing residences.

At Vision Communities, we are committed to creating the best apartment communities for you and your family. We feature multiple, pet-friendly apartment layouts, in desirable communities such as Polaris, Clintonville, and downtown Columbus. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.

 

Finding the Right Apartment Location

Five Key Considerations for an Apartment Location

Maybe you’re looking for your first home away from home or just got a job offer in an exciting new city. How do you choose where to live? While you might be initially tempted to look for an apartment close to where you work, take a step back. Work-life balance is important, so you’ll need to take a look at the big picture of your lifestyle and how your new apartment can fulfill all your needs.

Work. Living close to where you work is a no-brainer. Nobody enjoys a long commute, especially in bad weather. If your job is located in a remote area or in a high rent district, living close to work may not be optimal. If you do have to commute, look for public transportation options, like busing, light rail, or see if there are bike paths between home and work. 

Recreation. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, finding an apartment community that is close to the things you enjoy is important. Sporting events, concerts, and night life are typically located near the city, so an apartment community near downtown may be the best option. If you are a homebody who wants onsite activities, many apartments offer amenities such as CrossFit, movie theaters and onsite happy hours. Finding the right mix for your lifestyle is an important consideration.

Food.  Do you like to eat out a lot or cook at home? Whichever your prefer, it needs to be a consideration when deciding where to live. Make sure that your new apartment is close enough to these eateries that you enjoy or are within the delivery area. If you’re a foodie who likes to cook at home, proximity to a grocery store is important to keep your refrigerator and cupboards stocked.

School. If you’re a student, it makes sense to live near the campus. Choose an apartment that is within easy walking or short commuting distance.  Safety is also a consideration, especially if you are taking night classes. Look for sidewalks in good repair, well-lit walking areas, and dedicated bike paths. Keep these factors in mind if you are taking evening classes or are a full-time student considering living off-campus.

Church. If you are active in your place of worship, then you need to consider this when searching for an apartment. Staying close to your house of worship is important to staying connected to the friends you make. The longer the commute, the less likely you are to stay involved. 

Finding a new place to live can be exciting! Just make sure that you take a holistic view when choosing the best location. Examine all the areas of your life and weigh the pros and cons of how close you live to where you need to go. That way, you can make the best decision about what you need to be close to and where it’s OK to have a little travel time.

At Vision Communities, we are committed to creating the best apartment communities for you and your family. We feature multiple bedroom layouts, in desirable communities such as Polaris, Clintonville, and downtown Columbus. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.

How to Ace an Apartment Application Interview

You’ve narrowed down your search to two or three apartments that seem perfect for you. How do you move your selections from your wish list to keys in hand?  There’s nothing more frustrating than showing up for an appointment with your potential landlord only to discover that you’re missing some crucial pieces of information.  Here are a few tips to help you be prepared for a successful meeting.

Credit score. Your potential landlord will likely pull a background check, including your credit history. You can monitor your credit with services like Credit Karma, Experian® and LifeLock®, which are updated weekly. If you are just starting out in your career or don’t have the best credit, don’t despair. Less-than-perfect or zero credit won’t necessarily disqualify you from renting. You may be asked though, to put down a more sizable deposit.

Proof of income.  Bring along recent pay stubs from your job. If you are a new hire, take along a copy of your letter of engagement/acceptance. Be willing to provide contact information for your employer, should the apartment manager ask. That means name, job title, email and phone number.

References. You’ll need references to rent an apartment to verify that in the past, you paid your rent on time, left the unit in good condition, were a good neighbor, etc.  If you are moving from apartment to apartment, a note from your former landlord will suffice. If this is your first apartment, get creative. For example,if you lived in a dorm or other on-campus lodging, check with a residence hall director for a letter of recommendation. 

Form of payment.  Most apartment complexes will charge potential tenants to run a background and credit check, plus an application fee. The average cost of the background and credit check is about $30. Application fees can cost roughly $25-$50. A lot of places prefer these payments by cash or check, so keep that in mind.

You might be thinking that this sounds an awful lot like a job interview. In a way … it is. You are striving to make a good first impression and prove that you would be a trustworthy and responsible tenant. Being prepared when you go on an apartment interview will go a long way in demonstrating your credibility to a future landlord.

At Vision Communities, we are committed to creating the best apartment communities for you and your family. We feature multiple bedroom layouts, in desirable communities such as Polaris, Clintonville, and downtown Columbus. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.