Here are 4 things you should do before you move:
1. Find Out Neighborhood Stats
I am surprised by how many online apartment and house rental reviews contain demographic complaints. Deciding to move can be a life altering decision. You must first take a detailed look into local crime stats, school ratings, the housing market, child to adult ratios and much more. Why would you ever put yourself in a situation where you live in a place in which you are unaware of your surroundings? Take the extra time and find a suitable, comfortable area for yourself. Visit the area during the day and late evening hours to check out the traffic and noise levels. Otherwise, kiss your security deposit goodbye and prepare yourself for at least one year of carrying a weapon. Okay, I am kidding; maybe.
2. Ask About Office Policies
Too often I have seen my friends become too excited from the smoke and mirrors created by real estate agents and leasing professionals. It is their job to make us feel overwhelmed with emotions so that we will sign our cash over faster. I did this once when I first moved out of my mother’s house. It turned out to be a complete disaster and my roommate left me with the damages and final living expenses. Be smart and protect your investment by having the agent detail all of the important policies. These include if they allow pets, cost of late fees, amenity usage, smoking rules, parking and fire escape procedures. If you are moving in with a roommate, ask what will happen in case they bail on you.
3. Complete a Walk-Through Assessment
This is definitely one of the most important tips I can provide. Make sure that before you ever move into a new home that you complete a damage assessment with at least 2 other witnesses. The law states that you have the right to take a camera with you and photograph any scratches, dents, stains or other roughed up areas which were created by previous tenants. This might seem like it is a lot of work and you feel it is useless. However, if a court calls you because the leasing company accidentally “lost” your assessment or if they are wrongfully accusing you, the proof will be sitting in your hands. Not only can damages range up to $5,000 in small courtrooms but I am sure you don’t want to throw away your hard earned money. As the age old saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
4. Ask About Move-In Specials
Personally, I find asking about move-in specials to be as easy as breathing. Nearly every type of company wants your business and loves beating out local competitors. Most apartment communities hold several discounts throughout the year for new residents. These include no deposit fee, 3 months discounted rent and more. Also, if you are a working professional in the field of health or hospitality, these places will offer rental discounts with proof of employment. If nothing works and the agents will not offer you a bargain, show them the competitor’s rates in the area and explain to them that you want to give them their business. This usually works but if it fails, move on because a person who won’t negotiate probably isn’t fun to be around.
Although these are only a few tips I have provided on the pre-moving process, they are the most vital. Protecting yourself, your loved ones and your assets is important. So follow my guide to ensure a more secure method of a smooth process.