How to Rent an Apartment with Bad Credit

Life happens. Many potential tenants are in a situation where they are trying to rent an apartment but have bad credit. The pandemic has been a major source of financial hardship for plenty of well-meaning renters who are still trying to dig their way out of the aftermath. Maybe you lost your job or had your hours cut. Perhaps you lost your health insurance and have major medical debt or incurred unexpected massive car repair expenses. Or you just got way out of hand with pandemic-boredom online shopping. To add insult to injury, most property management companies will charge you to perform a credit check before you are even considered for an application. Why pay good money (around $50) just to get rejected? Regardless of the reason why it happened, bad credit can stand in the way of renting an apartment, or can it? Here are some strategies to help you get approved, even if your credit score stinks.

  1. Check your credit score. This initial step can be scary, but it’s important. You can get a free credit report that lists your TransUnion and Equifax (the two major credit reporting agencies) scores. Check the report carefully for any errors. If you find any, contact TransUnion and Equifax to get them resolved. What you can then do is get a letter from these agencies that explains the error and correction to your score.
  2. Find an apartment with no credit check. These opportunities are few and far between. However, if you are renting from an individual instead of a corporation, you might stand a better chance of being accepted as a tenant.
  3. Gather references and proof of income. Get a letter from your workplace verifying your employment. Back this up with copies of pay stubs and bank statements. If you successfully rented an apartment in the past, get a reference letter from your former landlord(s).
  4. Offer to pay more upfront. If the property manager is willing to negotiate, offer to pay a higher security deposit than what is required and/or pay several months’ rent in advance.

Explain your situation to the apartment manager, if your reasons for having bad credit make sense and you are demonstrating a good-faith effort to pay down your debt, you will have a much better chance of being approved. Landlords are human, but they are also business people, but in today’s economy and facing a lot of empty units, they may be more willing to take a chance on a higher-risk tenant. Once you’ve been approved, make sure you pay your rent on time, while at the same time, continuing to pay down your debt. As you work towards improving your track record and credit score as a responsible tenant and debtor, more doors will (literally) open to you in the future!

Get a fresh start at a Vision Community

At Vision Communities, we have floor plans to fit any budget or family size. Our spacious, studio, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space  Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 


Find out about your rights as a tenant in the state of Ohio on the Vision Communities blog.

Tenants’ Rights in Ohio

If you are getting ready to rent an apartment in Central Ohio, congratulations! There are many fun and functional communities to choose from that will suit any lifestyle. However, before you sign that lease and start packing, there are a few things you need to know that will pave the way for a congenial tenant-landlord relationship. The following are the highlights of tenant-landlord rights and obligations in the state of Ohio, from the American Association of Apartment Owners and the Ohio State Bar Association.

  1. Security deposits

This is probably the biggest point of contention between tenants and landlords. In Ohio, a landlord has the right to request a security deposit to hold the apartment until you are ready to move in. It is your obligation as a tenant to pay the security deposit. It is the landlord’s obligation to repay your security deposit after you move out. The landlord has the right to withhold any portion of all of your security deposit to compensate any damages incurred to the unit beyond “normal wear and tear” or to apply to any unpaid rent. When you give your notice to vacate, you must provide your landlord with a mailing address to return your deposit to. The landlord must return any or all of your security deposit within 30 days. If any amount was withheld for damages, you must receive an itemized statement of deductions.

  1. General tenants’ rights

Tenants are required to pay their rent on time and keep their apartments clean and sanitary. You must not also damage the property or allow your guests to damage or deface the property. In addition, you (and your guests) should conduct yourselves in a manner that will not create a disturbance or be disruptive to other residents in the building. Some examples include excessive noise, loud music or TV, using illicit drugs, etc. You must also give proper notice (usually 30 days) when you plan to move out.

  1. General landlords’ rights

Landlords are required to keep the property in good working condition and safe and sanitary. They must also supply basic needs such as running water, electricity, trash removal, etc., Landlords are also expected to keep all appliances and fixtures in good working order and make any requested repairs in a reasonable amount of time. “Reasonable” is subjective, depending on the circumstances, but general estimation is within 30 days. Some leases allow tenants to pay for their own repairs and deduct the costs from their rent.

  1. Entering the premises

This is another hot-button topic with tenants and landlords. Landlords must give tenants 24 hours’ notice if they plan to enter your apartment and do so during appropriate times of the day. As a tenant, you must comply with these requests. If a landlord enters your apartment without proper notice, you may have a legal right to recover damages.

  1. Rent increases and Evictions

Landlords have the right to increase rent by any amount to any tenant(s) on a month-to-month lease..However, they must give tenants 30 days’ notice. A tenant can be evicted for reasons such as non-payment of rent or violating the terms of your lease. Evictions are complicated and beyond the scope of this post. In the case of a pending eviction, you would be best served to consult with an attorney. However, a landlord cannot evict you or increase your rent for retaliatory reasons, such as reporting health and safety violations to city agencies.

At Vision Communities, our goal is to provide the best living experience for our tenants and the reviews that we’ve received from current and past tenants demonstrate our commitment to you. If you are looking for a new apartment and want to experience luxury apartment living, check out our Vision Communities and learn what it means to Live the VC. 


Apartment Hunting with a List

Choosing the Right Apartment Location

How to Choose a Community that Fits Your Needs

Looking for an apartment is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming as there are so many decisions to make. After you’ve established your rental budget, the next box to check is the location. While the first inclination usually is to find a place close to your job, take a step back and reassess. With so many people now working permanently from home, there are other factors to consider when choosing where to live. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, especially as you will most likely be stuck there for at least a year before you can more.

  • Shopping

As we’ve learned during the pandemic, grocery delivery is expensive, so at the very least, make sure there is a neighborhood grocery store or market. Think about other businesses you patronize regularly, such as a drug store, hardware store, UPS/FedEx, gas stations, your doctors and dentist, pet supplies, and a big box store. It’s not until you find yourself suddenly needing a particular store and having to drive to the next county, that you facepalm and realize your new neighborhood might not be so convenient after all. If you need to be near clothing stores, shoe stores, or a mall, then factor that into your location decision.

  • Family

If you are from a close-knit family, then you might want to live close to them (or the opposite!) Perhaps if you like to visit your family frequently or rely on them for support, it makes sense to live nearby. Aging parents can also be a concern, so talk to them to figure out mutually agreed-upon needs and expectations and plan accordingly.

  • Friends

Just like with family, maybe you want to live close to your friends. There is no sense living close to your job if you work a lot from home and have to drive a long distance to get together with your friends during the evenings and weekends. As a bonus, if your friends live in a specific area, then they have done all of the legwork and you can just find an apartment and move.

  • Amenities

An apartment community’s amenities can influence whether you decide to live there or not. If there are washer and dryer hookups or on-site laundry, that would eliminate the need to live close to a laundromat. If you have a dog and the apartment has a dog park, then you don’t need to live near a park or other areas where you can take your dog to walk and play. The same goes if you like to swim or work out. If you can at home, then strike those needs off your list.

  • Kids

If you have kids, safety of the neighborhood and apartment community will be paramount. You’ll want to choose an apartment that’s in your preferred school district. After that, you’ll want an area where there are recreational and social activities for the kids, such as a park or playground, or library. It will also be helpful to be close to basic stores like a grocery store and pharmacy.

  • Crime rate

If you are interested in a particular area, do some research on the crime rate; most municipalities keep a crime stats database you can access online. If a higher-than-average percentage of occurrences in the neighborhood don’t deter you, then pay close attention to the security of the apartment community you want to move to.

  • Parking and Commuting

These are important but often overlooked factors. Many apartment communities have their own parking lots. However, lack of assigned parking can be a huge issue and a headache for both residents and management. If you don’t mind parking anywhere, then no problem. You also don’t want to be in that situation where your charming rehabbed apartment in a dicey neighborhood only has parking several blocks away. If you don’t work at home or live close to your job, then you’ll need to have a plan (and some “plans B-Z”) on how to get to work which should entail alternate routes and public transportation.

If you are still convinced that you must live close to your job, these points still make sense. Your goal is to find the best apartment in the most suitable location so that you can enjoy living your life in your new digs and not stressing over logistics.

At Vision Communities, we welcome you to explore our communities, floor plans and amenities to find the right fit for you and your family. Our facilities are top-notch and based on some of our resident reviews, we think you’ll love the atmosphere, amenities, and our property management staff, all designed to give you a place you are proud to call home. There are so many amenities and things to do in and around our Central Ohio communities

Schedule an appointment to check out our spacious floor plans, and our friendly property management staff will be happy to show you around. 


Questions to ask before renting an apartment

What to Know Before Renting an Apartment

Important questions to ask when renting an apartment

If you have recently graduated and are ready to start a new job and get your own place, now is a great time to be looking at apartments. The same can be said if you want to buy a house or have sold your home and are waiting to move into a new one. Currently, it’s a seller’s market in the housing industry and mortgage rates are predicted to increase, so if home ownership is your goal, it might be best to wait it out.  An apartment offers many amenities that you won’t find in a house, like a swimming pool or fully equipped fitness center. And if you’re new to the area, apartment living is a great way to meet people and get acclimated to your new community.

One of the benefits of living in an apartment is that you aren’t locked into a long-term mortgage. Most leases renew annually and some property management companies offer month-to-month leases. You will be required to put down a security deposit, which will vary by property, and it should be returned to you when you moved out, provided that the apartment didn’t incur any major damage while you were living there. There may also be a pet deposit and if you are just starting out, you may need to pay deposits in order to establish utilities in your name.

Here are seven important questions to ask when renting an apartment:

  1. How much is the security deposit? Most apartment deposits amount to one month’s rent and you may also be asked to pay an application fee. Make sure you understand that upfront and be sure to get clarification on how you get your deposit returned when you move out.
  2. Is there a pet deposit? Many apartments now require pet deposits and some also charge a small monthly rental fee for the pet. The deposit and monthly rent are usually based on the weight of the animal, and most communities have restrictions on how many pets a resident can own. Some cities and apartment communities also have breed restrictions, so be sure that your pet is on the approved list.
  3. What are the terms of the lease? You want to be very clear on this one because it is expensive to break a lease. Are you bound to one year or can you go month-to-month? How much notice are you required to give if you intend to move out?
  4. What utilities are covered in the rent? In some communities, your rent also includes water and trash removal. Be certain to check as you don’t want to be surprised by unexpected utility bills. As an incentive, some properties offer free internet/cable services like Google Fiber. If that is the case, make sure to find out how and when the rates increase, how soon you will be notified, and if you have the option to decline this service.
  5. How are maintenance requests handled? This is important to know in advance so you will not have unrealistic expectations. Find out if there is a dedicated maintenance staff for your property and when they are available. Also, ask if there is after-hours emergency maintenance and what constitutes an “emergency.” Do residents submit maintenance requests online or do they need to call their property manager? Some properties allow residents to perform simple DIY repairs themselves and deduct the cost of any supplies from their rent.
  6. Do residents have dedicated parking spaces? This can be a huge headache for apartment residents — where to park. Are there reserved parking spots or is it a free-for-all? Some complexes charge more for reserved parking spots or carports. In addition, find out where guests are supposed to park. Guests parking in residents’ “usual” spots can get ugly quickly.
  7. What is security like? Every property is different. Some have locked outside security doors, while others have passcodes or gates at the entrance to the complex. High-rise apartments might have a concierge or on-site security guards. Check all of the windows and doors to make sure they close and lock properly. In addition, check for working smoke/CO monitors in the unit and for fire extinguishers in the hallways.

These are some tips to get you started on your apartment search. Your main goal in finding a new place to live is that it is safe, comfortable and fits your lifestyle. By gathering basic information upfront, you will understand your obligations as a resident and the responsibilities of the property management company, so your apartment life will be harmonious and stress-free.

At Vision Communities, we welcome you to explore our floor plans and find the right one for you and your furry friend. Our facilities are top-notch and based on some of our resident reviews, we think you’ll love the atmosphere, amenities, and our property management staff, all designed to give you a place you are proud to call home. There are so many amenities and things to do in and around our Central Ohio communities

Schedule an appointment to check out our spacious floor plans, and our friendly property management staff will be happy to show you around. 

Learn how to find a new apartment safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apartment Hunting During the Pandemic

New year … new season … maybe you are itching to move to a new apartment. The idea of relocating to new digs or to a new part of the city or country sounds exciting, but realistically, how are you going to manage it during a pandemic? Gone are the days when you could just drive around and drop in at the leasing offices of properties that look tempting — at least for the time being. There are ways that you can rent a new apartment without even leaving your home, but it can be challenging.  Keep reading to figure out the best way to find a new home and stay safe during the COVID crisis.

Examine your motives. Why have you decided to move? If you have to relocate because of a new job, then done deal. However, if you are just bored or have pandemic cabin fever, it might be better to wait a bit longer.  If your lease is about to expire, but you are still determined to move, ask your current landlord if a month-to-month lease is an option until it is a safer time for you to relocate. Honestly, they would probably prefer that you stick around for a little longer as opposed to all of the exposure risk associated with bringing in a new resident.

Research. Downtime at home is a great opportunity to perform your due diligence. Take a close look at the neighborhood(s) you are considering. Sure, you can drive by or look via Google maps, but what you need is a comprehensive picture of the area. Many neighborhoods have dedicated Facebook groups or have space on a site like These resources really help you drill down into the community and learn about recreation and entertainment, neighborhood groups, traffic conditions, and the crime rate. If you are relocating because of your job, your new company’s HR should be able to put you in touch with a local realtor or leasing agent. If you already know some of your new colleagues, ask them for recommendations.

Virtual tours. Pandemic restrictions will vary by location, which will restrict which properties can offer in-person apartment tours. Most property management companies have virtual tours, so you can view different floorplans online; some companies take this a step further by having 3-D tours where a leasing agent will conduct a more in-depth online walk-through with you. This is a really helpful option if you are in a situation where you will be renting sight unseen.

In-person tours. Common sense prevails here. Wear a mask and maintain social distance. Carry hand sanitizer as you will be touching doorknobs, light switches, etc.  While you are on the property, it is a good opportunity to observe how other residents are reacting to the pandemic. Are people in common areas wearing masks? You get the idea.

The move itself. Moving companies are considered “essential businesses” so they should be available during the pandemic and will have employee and customer safety protocols in place. (If not, swipe left!) If you can, try to move as much of your stuff as you can yourself. While the movers are there, wear your mask and try to stay out of their way as much as possible. They will appreciate not having you underfoot while they do their job, and it will be much faster

While moving to a new apartment during the pandemic isn’t impossible, COVID has definitely added a layer of complication to the process. If you can stand to stay put for a while longer, then do so. However, if you are determined to move, no matter what, the priority needs to be keeping yourself and those you interact with during the process, safe.

Vision Communities is committed to providing a safe environment for all of our community residents. If you are looking for a new 1-bedroom, 2- bedroom, or 3-bedroom apartment, check out one of our Central Ohio communities to learn more. If you have concerns about doing a tour in person, many of our communities feature virtual walkthroughs of our floorplans. 

Packing up your apartment

Tips for Moving Out of Your Apartment

The beauty of living in an apartment is that it is temporary. You can really move more easily than if you home a home, which comes with a mortgage and requires the sale of your house.  When it is time to move on, whether to your first house or upgrading to a new apartment community, there are some things you need to consider. While most renters’ primary concern is getting their security deposit back, they overlook small, but crucial details in the process.

Here are some tips to ensure that your relocation is as smooth as possible.

  1. Give notice. This is the most important step. Review your lease to see how much notice you need to give your apartment manager. The rule of thumb is that residents usually have to give 30 days’ notice, however, this can vary, depending on the terms of your lease. Failure to give adequate notice could result in financial penalties, such as owing the next month’s rent after you move out.

  2. Transfer your utilities. Make sure you close out your account at your apartment and transfer all utilities to your future address. Usually, this is as simple as placing a few phone calls or making the switch online. If you live in an all utilities paid complex, it might be a little more complicated as you may have to open all new accounts in your name at your new residence.

  3. Clean up the place. While it is tempting to just pack up and go, you need to leave your apartment in as close to move-in condition as possible. Even though you know that the unit will be rehabbed before new residents move in, leaving the place a mess can cost you. You might have penalties deducted from your security deposit. Additionally, this can earn you a negative reference from your landlord in the event you need to rent a new place in the future. Splurge on a professional cleaning service if you don’t have time or want to do it yourself.

  4. Change your address. You can do this online at the USPS website and provide updated address information where you mail will be forwarded and where you will receive your new mail. A lot of times, this step gets overlooked and it can be problematic in the long term as the Post Office only forwards mail for 12 months and periodicals for 60 days. If you still receive bills by mail, they could show up late or not at all, which brings on a host of new problems.

  5. Get your security deposit back. This is the time to review your lease one more time to make sure you fulfilled all the conditions to receive all or a portion of your security deposit back. What usually happens is that once your have vacated your apartment, the apartment manager will conduct an inspection of the unit. They should compare it to the punch list from when you moved in, to make sure there is no new damage. Your deposit will be mailed back to you once the inspection has been completed and you will also receive a letter noting any deductions for damages. So, don’t forget to leave your forwarding address with your (former) apartment manager.

Moving also is a great opportunity to donate. As you are packing, separate clothes, shoes, outerwear and any household items you are no longer using and donate them to a local charity. Many places will even come and pick your stuff up. Likewise, when you are packing up the kitchen, any unused canned goods can go to a food bank; many grocery stores have drop-off barrels for non-perishable goods.

While moving can be a hassle, once the process is over, you can settle to your new apartment and turn it into your home. If you are thinking about changing apartments, we would invite you to check out Vision Communities. We have apartment communities through out the Greater Columbus, Ohio, area with floorplans for studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Our communities offer first-class amenities and are conveniently located for an easy commute for work or play. Contact our office to schedule a tour and to inquire about floorplan availability.

Bad Credit and Renting an Apartment

Renting an Apartment With Bad Credit

Renting an Apartment if You Have Bad Credit

Columbus is a fast growing real estate rental market, which means finding an apartment can be challenging and a bad credit score can only complicate the search. Landlords are looking for long-term tenants who will pay their bills and fill their vacancies, so a tenant with a bad credit score may be a red flag for a landlord that pulls a credit report. There are many reasons why your credit score is low, like high credit card debt, falling behind on medical bills, not paying bills on time, etc, and unfortunately, when a prospective landlord pulls your credit, they tend to focus on the score rather than the details. 

If you have a bad credit score, it won’t automatically disqualify you from renting, but it can certainly may make it more difficult. The three major credit services — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — consider “bad” credit as falling below about 620, although that can vary. The first step to repairing your credit is knowing your score and making a habit of paying your bills on time, including your rent payment.

Here are some tips to help sway the odds in your favor:

  1. Offer to pay more upfront. Most apartment rentals require a deposit of some sort (i.e. the first or first and last months’ rent) in advance. If your case, offer to pay more, such as 2-3 months’ rent in advance, to demonstrate to the landlord that you are serious and can be trusted as a potential tenant.
  2. Get a co-signer. This can be a risky venture. A relationship with a co-signer, whether it is a family member or friend, has to be built on trust. Your co-signer will be responsible for paying the full amount of your rent if you are unable to or if you break your lease. Needless to say, if this arrangement goes south, it can seriously jeopardize your relationship as your default could adversely affect your cosigner’s credit rating.
  3. Get a roommate. If you can find a roommate with good credit, you might be able to pull this off. Have your roommate apply for the lease and let the management company run their credit report. Then, when the rent comes due, the roommate pays in full and you reimburse them for your share. 
  4. Plead your situation. You can try to explain your poor credit to the landlord. Oftentimes, they will overlook bad credit that is due to a true hardship, such as a medical emergency, as opposed to somebody who is carrying large credit card balances. 
  5. Find an apartment that doesn’t require a credit check. This one might be pretty difficult as most leasing companies automatically run a credit check on all potential renters. You might have better luck if you rent from an individual owner instead of a corporation.
  6. Show good-faith effort. You can present your potential landlord with pay stubs and a letter from your employer that confirms that you have a steady job and can make the rent. Also, if you have been a successful renter at other properties, get letters of reference from your former landlords. You can also submit any documentation you may have that shows that you are working on repairing your credit (e.g., working with a consumer credit counseling association).

The bottom line is that your potential landlord isn’t approving or rejecting lease applications solely on credit scores.  They want some type of reassurance that you are a good long-term tenant risk, you can and will pay your rent on time, and have a history of fiscal responsibility. Hopefully, these tips will help you secure a new apartment and you will be on your way to increasing your credit score.

Learn what you need to move into an apartment

Preparing For Your New Apartment

A Shopping List For Moving into an Apartment

There’s a little more to it than just selecting cool wall art and must-have barware
Your lease is signed, you’ve unpacked and created some ordered chaos out of your new apartment. That’s awesome. While you’re contemplating the fun stuff like how to fill that blank canvas living room wall, or wineglasses with or without stems, there are a few other more practical purchases you need to work into your budget. You’ll be glad you did when you need to open an aluminum can or add some extra torque when assembling furniture. Here are some suggestions on how to fully furnish and equip your new apartment with the basics for daily living. The good news is that none of these items are abhorrently expensive and can be easily sourced online or in a local store, plus you can be as minimal or extravagant as your tastes and budget will allow.

  1. Bathroom. Obviously, you will need to keep a supply of toilet paper and facial tissue handy. You’ll need toilet bowl cleaner and a brush, a plunger and products to clean the sink, tub/shower and other fixtures. A shower curtain in a fun print (don’t forget the liner) can add a nice pop of color to an otherwise tiny and bland room. Most bathrooms don’t have enough storage, so unless your apartment has adequate closet space, you will need to invest in some type of baskets/bins/boxes or shelving units for extra towels, hair styling/grooming products, heat tools, cosmetics, and personal hygiene items. On the topic of bathrooms, it’s also a good idea to stock up on a home first-aid/medicine stash. This will include your OTC pain relief, cough/cold/flu preparations, upset stomach medications, bandages, ointments, thermometer and whatever else you might need.
  2. Kitchen. You probably already have dishware, silverware, drinking glasses and mugs, (and dish soap) so the next thing to think about a set of kitchen knives. You only need three: a paring knife, a chef’s knife and a serrated knife; you can throw in a sharpening steel if you think you’ll use it. For preparing your food, you’ll need a sauté pan, skillet and larger pot for cooking foods like pasta. Round out that collection with some sheet pans for roasting veggies or baking cookies. If you cook or bake a lot, you’ll need measuring cups (both liquid and dry measure), measuring spoons, wooden spoons, and a cutting board. (Your level of culinary interest and expertise can dictate what else you’ll need.) Other miscellaneous items include a dish drainer/board, can opener, bottle opener, a food thermometer and plenty of kitchen/tea towels.
  3. Bedroom. You will need blankets, several sets of sheets, and a laundry basket/hamper for storing dirty items before washing. There are tons of ideas for organizing closets and dresser drawers, but a few “must-haves” include tiers or pouches for storing shoes and some of those multi-tasking hangers that will hold more than one garment. You can also find special hangers that will keep your ties, belts, and scarves easily accessible and tangle-free. If your bedroom closets are dark, you can find really cool motion-detecting LED lights that you can easily install — no tools required. All they need is a periodic recharge.
  4. Cleaning supplies. Starting with the largest items first, you’ll need a good vacuum cleaner. This is not an area to cut back, especially if you have a pet. The initial cost may seem pricey, but over time, you will recoup your investment and more by avoiding repair costs and outright replacement. A high-quality, well-maintained vacuum cleaner will see you through many years of apartments. Next up is a broom and dustpan. There are all types of dustpans available, including those that will clean pet hair out of the broom bristles. For additional floor cleaning, you’ll need cleaning products (based on the type of material used for your flooring) a mop, and possibly, a bucket (having a bucket is just a good idea anyway). Other cleaning products include a surface cleaner that can work in both the bathroom and kitchen, window cleaner, and any other products that you need to clean your furniture and accessories. There’s a plethora of natural-ingredient cleaning formulas out there, as well as good old baking soda and vinegar.
  5. Tools. Every household should have a basic set of tools. This is especially true if you are a DIY-er or much of your newly purchased furnishings and décor requires assembly. You should own a hammer, regular and needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, a level, wall patching medium, self-adhesive hooks/strips for wall hangings, sandpaper or blocks, and a set of screwdrivers. Another good investment is a cordless screwdriver, which can be found at a variety of price points. Most models feature both standard and Phillips-heads and run on a charge or batteries, making furniture assembly much, much easier. If you are putting together a lot of items, consider buying a set of quality Allen wrenches (hex keys) to replace the cheap flimsy ones that come in the box. These sets include wrenches in a selection of diameters, which should be sufficient for almost every need. Again, like with kitchenware, your needs and level of DIY expertise may require you to expand your tool collection.

Moving into a new apartment is a fun and exciting new chapter in your life! Make it a smooth transition by planning ahead. If you follow the guidelines listed above, you can avoid repeated sudden trips to the hardware or big box store and enjoy your new home much sooner!

At Vision Communities, we pride ourselves in the communities that we build. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment, but the cleaning and assembly are up to you! With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 


Learn the basics of apartment hunting in Ohio on the Vision Communities blog.

Apartment Hunting 101

What to Look for When Touring Apartments

You’ve narrowed your list down to 2-3 apartment complexes. They look great online and have stellar reviews. Your next step is to schedule appointments with the leasing agent for on-site tours. Before you sign a lease or pay a security deposit, there are many aspects of your potential new residence that you need to check out. Not only can some due diligence help you screen out questionable apartments, but it can also alert you to any safety or maintenance issues that may come back to haunt you down the road.

1. Overall appearance of property. Are the grounds well-maintained? Dying grass, overgrown weeds, and trees indicate that curb appeal isn’t a priority. Look at the building exterior and look for paint peeling or foundation or sidewalks cracked, loose shingles, dangling pipes or gutters. When you arrive, look carefully at the parking lot. Look to see if the asphalt cracked and full of potholes? Are parking spaces well-defined? Check out common areas as well for cleanliness, modernization, and utilization. There is also a flip side to this. Some apartment complexes focus on all the capital improvements on the grounds at the expense of the units.

2. Front door. If security is a concern, you will want to know if the apartment has security doors that are accessed by a buzzer or passkey. Is there a doorman or concierge? Is the door sturdy and in good condition? Does it catch securely after being closed?

3. Odors. It’s impossible for a communal living building to be odor-free, but what you smell can make a huge difference. A stale, musty odor, cigarette smoke, and lingering cooking orders are a big turn-off.

4. Apartment unit. The same advice holds true for front and other exit doors. Are they secure? Is there a peephole and deadbolt locks? Do sliding glass doors on patios and balconies have locks in good working order? Check the windows to make sure they are easy to open and close. Do they lock? Are the screens in good condition?

5. Apartment interior.Most apartments are freshly painted after a tenant moves out. However, check for any scratches to the walls or dings/chips in the trim. If you find any, document them, so you are not charged for damage when you move out. Ask if touch-up paint is available for use after you’ve moved in.

6. Carpet. Carpet should be preferably new or have been thoroughly cleaned after the previous tenant left. Check for stains and signs of wear. Again, document any holes or stains.

7. Kitchen. What type of floor is there? Is it easy to clean? What about the countertops and sink? Look for stains, scorches, chips and cracks. Make note of them and ask the landlord if these surfaces can be replaced before you move in. Are the appliances in good working order? Open and close the doors to the fridge and freezer to make sure they seal properly.

8. Bathroom. Is the toilet new? Are there ugly lime/rust stains in the bowl? The same goes for the shower/bathtub. What kind of shower head is used? Is there enough space on the vanity or in the cabinets?

9. Bedrooms. Is there room for your preferred size of bed? How big is the closet compared to your needs? Is there a cable outlet for a TV (if you need one)?

10. Lighting and electrical outlets. Turn on the lights throughout the apartment to see if the lighting is adequate for your needs. Do the light fixtures accommodate energy-saving lightbulbs? Will you need to augment the lighting with your own lamps? Are there enough electrical outlets in the unit? Same with cable outlets.

11. Closets and storage. How big are the closets? Ask if there is additional storage for residents’ use in the basement or elsewhere on the property. That will be a huge consideration in whether not you’ll need to downsize if you move in.

While this seems like a LOT to consider, it will pay off in the long-run. You want to find an apartment where you’ll feel safe, clean and enjoy your living experience. 

At Vision Communities, we pride ourselves in the communities that we build. With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 

Apartment living with pets

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 Westerville, Clintonville, and downtown Columbus. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.