Understand your priorities before looking for an apartment

by Tom Simplot

Jun 14, 2015

Let’s face it, rental rates are just as much art as science. The diligent renter will make a list of key amenities and determine what items are worth a premium, and then research options online.

Apartment communities today often have all the features of a five-star resort — and may look like one. Those features make the urban and even suburban lifestyle a breeze and more enjoyable, even social, but they come with a price that’s wrapped into the monthly rent.

Making a list of top features important to you before you shop for a new apartment home is essential. Once you are on the property without this “must-have” list, a fire pit, game room and wine cellar will seem more important to you than they are in your real life. Take the time to make a “nice-to-have” list of features like a concierge, pet park or office center.

Taking time to examine your lifestyle and how you spend your time will help you prioritize these lists and see what you should and should not pay for.

Many communities offer storage space, and this can be a great addition if you’re downsizing or have seasonal gear to store.

Fitness centers in some apartment communities rival high-end gyms. Operators have invested in state-of-the-art equipment and even classes for residents. If you are even a casual gymgoer, this can save you money and be great inspiration to keep healthy.

Most apartments today include a dishwasher, garbage disposal and washer/dryer. If these items are important to you, put them on the list. Some upgraded communities have wonderful common areas now but were not able to retrofit their plumbing to include washer/dryers.