5 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Apartment-Hunting

apartment hunting

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  • There’s a lot to keep in mind when you start the search for your first apartment.

    With so many other concerns on your mind—roommates, furniture, and how in the world you’re going to feed yourself every day—you may feel tempted to settle for the first livable apartment you see.

    However, you can avoid many issues and hassles down the line just by having a clear idea of what to look for during your search. Here are some of the red flags to watch out for when apartment-hunting.

    High Tenant Turnover

    You probably won’t be able to ask your potential neighbors what they think of the building, but you can get a pretty good idea of tenant satisfaction from the turnover rate.

    If people are leaving as soon as their lease is up—or sooner—they may not have been happy with their time in the building.

    Of course, turnover happens a lot in college towns, but if tenants are staying for more than one year, it’s usually a sign you’ve found a good place.  


    Keep an eye out for any unwanted critters when you’re touring an apartment. Bugs are usually a good sign that an apartment building is unclean and poorly maintained.

    Even if they’re just the result of one bad tenant, bug populations can spread quickly, and getting rid of them is tricky.

    You might think dealing with a bug or two is fine—after all, no one has the perfect apartment in college—an infestation can turn your apartment from a haven into a place that’s uncomfortable and unwelcoming.

    Wall Stains

    If the apartment you’re touring has a current tenant, there’s bound to be a little mess. However, you shouldn’t be too quick to look past a stain or two. Keep an eye out for discolorations on the walls and ceilings, as these often indicate more serious damage. Water stains on the ceiling might mean a leaky roof. They could also be a sign of mold, especially in the bathroom or other humid parts of the apartment.

    Bad Communication

    You should also pay attention to your potential landlord or building manager. Throughout the entire process—setting up appointments, taking tours, and filling out applications—consider how well they communicate and interact with you. If they’re hard to reach or they never get back to you in a timely manner, chances are that the situation won’t improve once you live there. A landlord who’s negative, talks badly about other tenants, or avoids answering your questions is a major red flag to watch out for when apartment-hunting.

    other valuable tips:

    Unclear Lease Terms

    Remember that you’re not tied down to a place until you sign a lease. One of the most important steps of apartment-hunting is to read your lease carefully. If you need to, have a parent or other experienced adult read it over, too.

    Make sure everything you’ve discussed with the landlord—included utilities, promised repairs, or other special terms—are all in writing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any part of the lease. Your lease is a contract, and you want to be completely comfortable before you agree to it.

    Image Credit: apartment hunting by Pixabay

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