Thank you to Buffalo New York Premier Surfaces for sponsoring this post!
I’m moving… again! *sigh*
Is anyone else sick of moving? Whether it be moving from dorm to dorm, from college to home during the breaks, or apartment to apartment every year? ‘Cause same! But unfortunately, it’s that time of the year, and it’s time to go apartment hunting.
I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the dirty. If the apartment looks good in photos, make sure to always tour the apartment because pictures can be deceiving. I’ve compiled a list of things to do while touring an apartment to make sure you’re not getting stuck with a hot mess after you sign on the dotted line.
1. The usual stuff
A coat of paint can’t fix everything. Check for scratches on the floors, dents in the wall, and nicks on the cabinets and doors. You should also be checking for water damage in in and around the bathtub and under the sink in your bathroom and kitchen. And if you don’t know what water damage or water marks look like, just Google it.
When apartment hunting in Buffalo, lot of the upper/lowers or apartment buildings you’ll be moving into were built in the early to mid 1900’s. Look up and see if there’s cracks in the wall where the ceiling meets. It also doesn't hurt to ask if the walls are drywall or plaster. Don’t forget to stand by the windows and check if there’s a draft. If there is, factor in how it’ll affect your heating bill in the winter.
2. Storage is your best friend.
“Is there basement storage?” is one of the first things I ask when touring an apartment. You won’t think you’ll need all this storage at first. But then you’ll move in with your roommates and start unpacking. You then realize everyone brought a dining plate set with pots and pans... and now you have 3 microwaves, 2 crockpots, and 12 can openers. Clearly there’s not enough kitchen cabinet space to store everyone’s utensils, so you’ll have to store it somewhere else.
When living in Buffalo, you experience all four seasons, and we need clothes for all four of those very different seasons. Do you have bin of clothes for each season and switch out your closet and dresser? I know I do. If your parents live far away, or won't let you use their basement as storage anymore, where do you plan on keeping your summer clothes? (Kudos if you know how to wear your wardrobe all year long. I haven’t reached that level of adulting yet.) But I think you get the idea that storage is very important.
If there is basement storage, check out the basement while you’re already there. Look for water damage and see if it smells musty. Also see if there’s a separate, locked place to keep your belongings. You can never be too safe if there’s other people living in the same building/house as you.
4. Water pressure
Turn on those faucets! You won’t look weird, I promise. In the apartment I’m currently living in, I got stuck with the worst water pressure in the world. I can barely wash my dishes or take showers. When we first moved in, our shower also didn't have hot water. It took a month for our landlord to resolve the issue, but taking cold showers in March is not fun. So make sure to check the water pressure and wait to see how long it takes for the water to warm up.
5. Countertop space
Countertop quality and how much countertop space you have fall hand in hand. This applies for the kitchen and bathroom too! Are these countertops Instagram worthy for all the food and bathroom-selfie pics you’ll be taking? Is there enough space to keep your toaster, microwave and coffee maker out at all times? Are they secured to the wall and cabinets? And if you have OCD like me, do the countertops stop where the cabinets end, or is there a weird overhang? I figured out the hard way that one of my countertops was not secured to the cabinets when it came right off.
My last apartment definitely didn’t use Buffalo New York Premiere Surfaces to install their countertops. Premier Surfaces have been fabricating and installing custom-designed countertops and surfaces for more than 30 years and use of high quality material to provide excellent installations and amazing customer service. Never be afraid to ask your landlord/apartment manager the brand of something, or who and how they installed it. Because if you break it, you’re paying for it, even if they did a crappy job of building it.
6. Lights and Outlet location
You don’t realize how important electricity is until you don’t have access to it. This may just be an old Buffalo house thing, but my current bedroom only has one outlet and no built in light. I have at least 3 extra long power strips running the parameter of my bedroom, and floor lamps in almost every room. It’s not a huge inconvenience, but all lamps and power strips I needed to buy did add up to a decent amount of money. So scout out all the rooms in the apartment your touring and make a mental note the outlet will be accessible after you fill that room with furniture.
If you do find issues, but really enjoy the apartment and its location, ask the landlord or apartment company if these issues can be fixed before you move in. And I know I sound like your mom, but if you do move in and spot damage that you didn’t cause, take a picture and document it. It’ll help you get your security deposit back when you decide to move out.
Good luck apartment hunting!