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Apartment Complexes – A Complex Decision

apartment complexes

June 17, 2015

Apartment complexes or apartment units? What’s more important when it comes to choosing a place to call home? And in weighing out the benefits of each, what’s a good barometer to determine if you’re making the right decision? After all, you are committing to a year of your time and money, so the decision is a pretty far-reaching one.
Apartment complexes are much like communities and we all want a community where we feel like we fit in; or at least feel comfortable. There are a few factors you can definitely look for up front to determine if the apartment complex may or may not be right for you.
Look at the outside
In this case it’s okay to judge a book by its cover; in fact it’s a pretty good idea. Does it look as though management cares as much about the common areas as you hope they do about the units? Are the hedges trimmed, grass mowed, flowers blooming? Do you get a sense that attention to detail is a priority of the complex management? Sometimes it’s the dirtiest places that give you the sense of how clean a complex is. Are their trash areas somewhat neat or is there trash strewn all over the place? What about their rental offices and other common area buildings, nicely maintained or in immediate need of updating? The bottom line is, a complex that presents itself well will attract a higher caliber of renter, which is good for them, and for you, as well.
How secure do you want it?
Are you looking for Fort Knox or a more open complex where guests won’t have to jump through hoops to come visit you? Many people today prefer very secure apartment complexes with security gates, roving guards, the whole nine yards. Certainly the part of town the complex is located in can dictate the need for a more robust security environment vs. one that doesn’t require costly security features. Remember, security comes at a price, and therefore, expect your rent to reflect such. In Manhattan, the apartment buildings that have doormen will invariably require higher rents than those with just a non-human security. You’ll need to decide from a cost/benefit ratio just how much security you’d like, and how much you’re willing to pay for it.
Consider the amenities
When it comes to amenities, apartment complexes fall into two basic categories—those that offer a wealth of high-end amenities and those that offer the bare minimums. As is the case with the subject of security, you need to decide what amenities are worth paying for because the more offered, typically the higher the rent. Do you just have to have a pool or gym in the complex you live in, or is it really a give or take? How about parking; do you need a reserved space, room for guest parking, covered parking? A beautiful club house? The list goes on and one. Decide which ones are most important to you as most apartment complexes are likely to have some and not others.
What are the neighbors like?
While you can’t exactly knock on everybody’s door and give them a multi-page survey about their experience in the said complex, you are likely to catch someone outside. Do a little “mother-in-law” research and ask them how they like living there. What do they think of management? Their from-experience response alone can be very telling of how you may like it or relate in that complex. And if you’re not able to catch a current renter to talk to, ask the property owners what the majority age range is like in that complex. If you’re a retired couple looking for a relaxing neighborhood to settle down in, you probably won’t want to end up in a crazy college complex and vice versa.
Complex rules
Many apartment complexes have certain rules and regulations for their residents, similar to a homeowner’s association in neighborhoods. These can range anywhere from no pets to no remodeling or certain fees you have to pay for upkeep of the complex and its surroundings. Make sure you inquire about all the rules and regulations before you move in so you know how lenient or not this complex is going to be.
Whichever factors are most important to you and your living environment, consider your preferences in each category. It’s easy to focus solely on the apartment you will be living in and forget about the actual apartment complexes. Community is such an important aspect in liveliness and the last thing you want is to commit to a place where you feel annoyed or uncomfortable. 

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