Summit on Quality Hill Apartments Blog

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your Next Apartment

Renting and finding an apartment in KCMO doesn’t have to be stressful! Here are five important questions to ask before your next move.

There are quite a few reasons you may want to find a new apartment. No matter if you’re moving for work, to get a new start, to save some money, or for another reason, moving can be both fun and exciting and stressful and hard work. Whether this is your first apartment or you move every year or two, there are some important questions you should ask yourself to make the process as smooth as possible.

If you’re moving to downtown Kansas City and think Summit on Quality Hill may be for you, peruse around our website and apply now to see what’s available! Our wonderful team of leasing associates would love to meet you!

1.       What’s important and what can you afford?

Before you start looking for a new apartment you should have a good idea of what you’re looking for. The first step is to think about budget so you have a better idea of how much you’d like to spend monthly on rent. Keep in mind that most apartment management companies require your net income (before taxes) to be at least three times that of the monthly rent, so for example if you’re looking at a place that’s $1,000/month you’d need to make $3,000/month. If you want to go a little lower and save more that’s completely up to you, but it’s good to at least have a maximum number in your head. Also keep in mind other monthly costs that may or may not be included in the rent, like water, electricity, and internet, and other personal costs such as your phone bill and food costs.

Once you have a good idea of what you can afford you should make a list of your wants and needs, both inside and outside the apartment. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Is in-unit laundry a necessity? What about a community fitness center? Everyone’s list of wants and needs will be different, so if you’re planning on living with someone you’ll want to talk to them as well to make sure all your needs are met. You may not care about hardwood floors or a large kitchen, but your roommate or partner may. Most internet listing services like Apartments.com or Apartment List have a list of options to click and only show you apartments that meet those criteria.

2.       Where do you want to live?

Now that you know what you want, it’s time to think about where you want it. At Summit we’re partial to downtown, urban living and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, but we know that lifestyle isn’t for everyone and some may prefer a low key suburban feel. Whichever option is more for you, it’s a good idea to type in the apartment address into Google Maps and zoom out to see what’s around. Think about your hobbies and interests and see what’s close by. It’s important that you enjoy your apartment, but you don’t want to spend all day, every day stuck inside!

Keep this in mind as you start touring apartments as well. Schedule in some time before or after your tour so you can drive around and get a good feel of the neighborhood, or even enable the GPS on your phone and see what businesses are advertising around you. Leasing associates are a great resource as well, since they already work (and most likely live) in the area. Don’t forget anyone else living with you as well! If you have school-aged kids ask about the local school system, or if you have furbabies ask about dog-friendly spots nearby.

3.       How would you commute be?

We spend about 40 hours (if not more!) per week at our jobs, and most of us don’t want to spend any longer than we have to going to and from said jobs. This question is especially important if you’re moving because of a job, so as you’re already plugging in the apartment address to check out the neighborhood go ahead and plug in your employer’s address as well. Both Google Maps and Waze allow you to change the time of arrival and departure to give you an estimate of what your commute would look like during rush hour as well. If you plan on taking public transport what are those options? Some public commuters don’t mind taking the bus, while others much prefer train only, for example.

Remote workers don’t have to think too much about drive or travel times, but you do have a different set of needs and wants. If you have a lot of video conferences, for example, you’ll want to make sure the internet speed is fast enough to support that. Also keep in mind that even if you “work from home” you won’t want to spend all day, every day in your apartment! Remote work allows flexibility so you don’t have to be cooped up in one place all the time. Research local coffee shops, libraries, or other spots with free WiFi. Many apartment communities (Summit included!) are now offering coworking lounges so you don’t even have to splurge on overpriced coffee every day to get out of the house.

4.       What are the rules?

Except for pet policies, this question may not come up until later in the leasing process, but you’ll want to make sure to understand community and management rules and policies before signing a lease. A good leasing associate will answer all the important questions before you ask them, but don’t be shy if you need anything explained. Remember that once you sign a lease you’re committing to living there for that period of time, so you’ll want to do what you can to make sure not to have any big surprises after you move in. While this list isn’t exhaustive by any means, here are some important questions to keep in mind:

·         What is your pet policy? Are there any breed or weight restrictions? What about deposits or monthly fees?

·         Am I allowed to decorate the apartment with paint or by hanging pictures?

·         When is rent due and how do I pay?

·         Are there quiet hours and how are they enforced?

·         When is the pool/gym/clubhouse/etc. open?

·         What are parking options, and are upgrades like garages available?

·         What happens if I have to break my lease?

·         Are there recommended companies for renter’s insurance, internet, cable, etc.?

·         What are visitor’s policies and their parking?

5.       When and how are you moving?

Hopefully you’ve given yourself a couple months (or more) to look for and find a new apartment, but no matter what your timeline is it’s good to start planning and packing as soon as you decide to move. No one likes packing, but it’s even worse if you’re trying to do it all the day before you’re set to move in. Take a look at what you have and make a schedule for what to pack and when. Start with the items you’re not currently using like off-season clothing, extra bedding and towels, and decorations. Make sure you label all your boxes as clearly as possible, making note of what the box contains and where it goes. That way you’ll have a better idea of what things you need to unpack first, and you won’t have to tell friends or movers where to take every single box.

You’ll also need to decide the best way to get everything from point A to point B. If you’re just moving across the city and have several heavy items it would probably be best to hire a professional moving company for a few hours. If instead you’re moving across the state or only have smaller boxes you may want to save some money, cash in some IOUs, and rent a box truck for the day. If you hire a moving company they may offer extras like boxes and other packing materials as well, otherwise you’ll have to find those on your own.

What are some of your moving tips and tricks? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to let us know!

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