21 Jan 10 Tips That Nobody Tells You About Searching for a House or Apartment.
By Rebecca Reich/January 20, 2015
You’ve followed the usual house hunting tips like, “bring a camera and take pictures so you can compare places later.” You always test the water pressure and inquire about the average utility bills. But sure enough, once you move in to a new place, you always find out about at least one thing that you wish you knew about prior to signing on the dotted line. To avoid buyer’s/renter’s remorse, follow these less-common tips that can help make or break your living situation.
1. Check for cell phone reception.
Check the strength of your cell phone reception in different areas around the house. You won’t want to have to stand next to the laundry room window every time you need to make a call. If you absolutely love the house, you might consider changing providers (not recommended for renters unless you plan on living at the home for a long time). This small precaution takes about ten minutes but can save you a ton of headache.
2. Drive through the area during rush hour.
Learn how awful (or great) your commute might be. You’ll want to know if it’s going to take you a half hour just to get a few miles closer to or away from your house during five and six o’clock traffic. If you have a school very close by, it might make sense to do the same thing around 3pm or whenever school gets out. You get the idea.
3. Check your parking situation.
How many guests can park at a time? Make sure to look at the parking situation during a time that people are usually home (not a weekday morning). What about on Friday and Saturday nights? There can be a drastic difference in a neighborhood street at 10am on a Monday compared to 10pm on a Friday. If parking is scarce during these times, are you willing to ask your guests to park a block or two away from your house?
4. What’s in walking distance to the home?
While it might be fun and convenient to have a local bar just a few blocks away, it will likely be frustrating and noisy if it’s too close. Similar things can be said about fire stations, police stations, and hospitals. Also pay attention to the location of nearby train tracks and airports.
5. Ask neighbors about the worst part of the street/neighborhood.
This will provide you with some honest insight into the area. By not asking about specific elements, you’ll get a better idea of what stands out in people’s minds. Pay extra close attention to the issue if you get the same response from more than one person.
6. Make sure there’s an internet provider suitable to your preferences.
You’d be surprised about some providers’ “black out” spots. This is especially important if you are a renter. Some apartments are only wired for certain types of internet services or providers, and you might not always be thrilled with their choice.
7. When scoping out potential neighborhoods, check out the local grocery stores.
This will help you to get a good sense of the type of people that live in that neighborhood. Also check the closest gas station late at night. Just driving around the neighborhood itself might not give you an accurate representation of your neighborhood culture.
8. Check the neighbors’ porches.
If surrounding places have belongings left sitting on the porches (toys, stoves, seating, decorations), it’s a good sign for little/no theft and a kid-friendly environment. Of course, it’s still a good idea to check the crime reports and ask the neighbors about the area.
9. If there’s a homeowners’ association, find out its rules.
You don’t want any surprises here!Also find out what the HOA fees are and what the services entail.
10. Look up the average length of ownership/rental time for the home.
It’s a bad sign if turnover is high. If it seems like people are consistently moving out of your home not too long after moving in, it’s time to do some further investigating. This is a major hint that you might be overlooking a hidden defect that will most likely be revealed after living in the house for a while.