One of life's necessities is getting to grips with apartment viewing, but regardless of how many times you do it, you always come away and think of something you should have asked or looked for while you there! It's so frustrating!
We have compiled our top tips for apartment viewing, so that every experience will be more productive and get you a step closer to finding the home of your dreams. In addition, we want to tell you to never worry that you are asking the letting agent too many questions or that you sound silly; if you are going to live in a space for the foreseeable future, you need to know absolutely ever last detail about it!
We all have at least one friend who is painfully honest, to the point of almost being rude, don't we? Well, they are the person to take with you when you go to any apartment viewing! As the property will not be for them, they will have absolutely no qualms in giving you a totally honest opinion, while asking all the questions you might feel awkward asking the letting agent!
Taking someone with you to view an apartment is not only a matter of personal safety, it's great to get a second opinion, especially if you have limited time to find a new home, as desperation can make your experiences a little rose-tinted!
It is absolutely imperative that any apartment viewing you undertake is done in the daylight! We know this might sound like common sense or not too important if the property has lighting installed, but you will want to see how much natural light comes in, where from and what the apartment itself looks like in real light.
Don't be persuaded to take an evening viewing, just to be the first to see a property, as letting agents will often use this technique to get a less appealing location off their books. Instead, be firm that you want to take a look around during the day and if you're lucky, your potential new home will look as stunning as this one, from Terry Design!
If you have a lot of apartment viewing to do it can get a bit confusing and easy to muddle up where you have been and what everywhere looked like. You might even accept a let thinking it to be a different property! Be vigilant and don't feel silly about taking a camera with you to get some snaps of key areas, as by doing this, you can compare and contrast everything in one sitting and make an informed decision.
Take this open plan living room as an example. You would want to get a snap of this to use as a benchmark for other properties, or even just as cheeky inspiration!
When apartment viewing, always make sure you take a good look at the quality of the decorating finish, as this is something that you will not only have to live with for many years to come, but also replicate as and when you move out.
Is the floor level, can you see any signs of damp, when was the boiler last replaced? All perfectly valid and important questions to ask, so make sure you do. If you are feeling a bit nervous about asking, simply give your confident accompanying friend the nod and let them have at it!
If you like the area you are in and think the building itself is right for you, be totally realistic with yourself when it comes to the size of the apartment and the extra costs that it will incur. While a studio flat might seem like the most money-savvy option right now, council tax and utility bills may send your monthly costs sky rocketing.
We like to ask for a foot plan at any apartment viewing and from there, calculate the cost per square metre, with all bills included. This allows for easy comparison with other properties and really helps you to see if you are truly getting good value for money or not.
Always remember that if you are apartment viewing in a building complex, there is a chance that there will be extra duties to pay towards the upkeep of the building itself. We know it sounds insane, but it's true and you will be expected to pay your share if you take on a flat within it.
Typical extras include cleaning costs for communal areas, maintenance of fire extinguishers and even things like having snow shovelled away from the entrance in inclement winter months! It's also worth asking about refuse policies too, as buildings that have extra levies sometimes impose bizarre rules as to when you are allowed to place your rubbish in the external bins!
If you are unfamiliar with the neighbourhood of a potential home, take the time to walk around and get a feel for it. Are there cafés and shops, does it seem family-friendly, is it known to be a nice part of town? These are all vital questions to ask, so don't shy away from them.
Apartment viewing in an unfamiliar part of town can be daunting, but trust your instincts. If you feel comfortable and safe when you arrive, that is a great sign, but if you have any feelings of unease, listen to them and try to find out more about the area.
We hope this has given you some useful tips to take to your next apartment viewing and that you find the home of your dreams soon. If you do, take a look at this Ideabook: 48 Hour Apartment Makeover. We think you'll find some great ideas for sprucing up your new pad and really making it your own!