Finding the perfect apartment isn’t easy, and you may have to skip out on some apartment amenities when you’re looking for the next place to call home. Before you start your search, it’s important to determine which apartment amenities are need-to-haves and which conveniences you can live without.
On-Site Laundry Room or Laundry Service
Having to lug all your dirty clothes back and forth from a laundromat is a pain. If there is a laundromat within walking distance, it may be doable, but a laundry room onsite would be much more convenient. Complexes with onsite laundry rooms will have either coin-operated machines, or if they have updated their equipment, will have laundry cards that you can load money onto. Some complexes might have the card machine in the laundry room, but others might have it in the leasing office. If you’ll be doing your laundry mostly after business hours, be sure to confirm this before heading out to run your first load.
If you live alone, a dishwasher may be a convenience you can live without–but if you have a family of five, this is one apartment amenity you’ll want to make sure you have. In most new apartment complexes, dishwashers are a standard appliance, but it’s much less common in older buildings.
Not having an outdoor space is a real drag in an urban apartment. There are times you may just want to get a breath of fresh air without having to trot around your neighborhood or to a nearby park. Living in an apartment with a patio, small backyard or stoop gives you the ability to take a few steps and enjoy a crisp, cold beer outside. Some large buildings will have a shared space or courtyard area as well. If you’re across the street from a park, this convenience may not be as necessary as some others.
A pool at your complex and air conditioning in your unit may be indulgences for some, but if you live in the desert, these apartment amenities can be very important.
Many apartment complexes in warmer communities have more than one pool, making it easier to go for a swim without a bunch of noisy kids, or the possibility of encountering an unfortunate “biological incident”.
Gym memberships can be expensive. If you love working out, but hate spending the money on a gym, a fitness center in your apartment building can be a perfect solution. Many fitness centers offer the same equipment of stand-alone gyms, but fitness centers at smaller apartment might be limited. If this is the case, try getting your cardio and muscle building in other ways, like going for a jog, walking backwards up hills in your area, or doing pushups.
Two cars and one parking spot can be a real annoyance. If you’re a multi-car family thinking about moving into a complex with only one parking spot, be sure to scope out the neighborhood in the evening on a weeknight (when you would normally be returning home from work) to make sure there is ample street parking.
If you’re lucky enough to find a complex with parking amenities, there are several different types to look out for: reserved, covered, garaged.
Reserved parking is great. You have an assigned number, and no one else can park there but you. Of course, there is the occasional lazy visitor who might decide to steal your spot. But the beauty of reserved parking is that you can report a repeat offender to your leasing office, and they will likely have them towed. Impound fees are enough to deter a spot thief to strike again.
Covered parking spots are really good for rainy climates, or if your car is your baby. Covered parking protects your mobile asset from the elements, which can actually help preserve the life of your car. Bad weather can rot out your seals and create a nightmarish rust problem.
Garaged parking has its pros and cons, too. Many parking garages have tight, crowded spots. There’s also always going to be those people who park so close to the neighboring spot that only a motorcycle would be able to fit. Going in and out of parking garages can also get congested during busy times in the morning and when people are returning home from work. Now, if you can find an apartment complex with detached garage buildings, you’ve hit gold. They’re a little pricey, and there is often a wait list, but detached garages can double as parking and storage space. They are rented by the single unit, so they are exclusively yours for the duration you rent them.
If you’re living in a small studio apartment, there’s a chance you’re not going to fit all of your stuff in the space. But if your rental unit has basement storage available, you’ll be able to keep your things and live in your dream pad. Make sure to talk with the landlord about the security of storage units–you don’t want to store personal possessions in a place where everyone has access to them.
Washer/Dryer In Unit
Perhaps one of the most sought after amenities, having a washer/dryer in your unit – or at least having the hookups – is a huge convenience. Unlike having an on-site laundry room, having a W/D in your apartment will save you money and a lot of time. When hunting for a place with a W/D or W/D hookups, inquire about what utilities are included. Most apartment complexes include water, which will save you even more money in the end.
If you’re an avid television watcher, finding a unit that is cable-ready is probably pretty high up on your list. Because otherwise, you will have to pay the cable company to come out and install cable in your unit. And that’s never cheap.
High Speed Internet Access
Not having to pay for high-speed internet out of your own pocket every month is an amazing amenity that can be quite hard to find. Some apartment complexes offer free high-speed internet included in the cost of rent. If you can find one of these jewels, you can potentially save tons of money each month, not only on internet, but on cable, as well. With devices like Roku and Chromecast, which run off of your internet connection and stream to your television without having to pay for cable, you now have on-demand entertainment at your fingertips. And you won’t pay for what you don’t need! Because really, who actually watches those strange public access channels, ten foreign language channels and home shopping channels anymore?
The size, weight and breeds allowed vary from apartment complex to apartment complex. Some complexes allow all sizes, weights and breeds, even those on the restricted list, whereas some apartments only allow you to have small dogs or cats. If pets are part of your family, make sure you check about size, weight and breed restrictions before signing a lease.
Also varying from complex to complex is how you are charged for living with your furry friend. Some apartments want a non-refundable pet deposit. Some want both a non-refundable and a refundable deposit. Some want just monthly pet rent, with or without deposits. It all depends on what the leasing office decides, so make sure you know how much you should expect to shell out every month for Fido.
Utilities Included (Some or All)
Need we elaborate? Who doesn’t like free stuff?
Access to Public Transportation
If you don’t own a car, and are at the mercy of public transportation, living in a community that is close to a bus stop or train station is imperative. A short walk in the heat and the rain is a lot more tolerable than a long trek in the same conditions.