Renting an Apartment – 5 Things to Do Before Signing a Lease

Are you looking for an apartment to rent? Do a local and online search and you will find a number of rental units that fit your wants, needs, and budget. Before rushing to sign a lease, keep these five important points in mind.

Apartment Hunting Tip: Schedule a Showing

You want to ensure your money is wisely spent and this involves seeing the apartment for rent beforehand. Any landlord can make a building or unit look nice in words. Moreover, some large complexes use standard pictures. Basically, you may be seeing pictures of a similar apartment, but not the unit you would rent.

It is also important to note that websites like Craigslist.org are home to a number of apartment rental scams. Seeing the unit for yourself (inside and out), ensures you know the money you pay will go to an actual landlord or property manager, not a scammer.

Apartment Hunting Tip: Meet the Landlord

You may get lucky and score an apartment for rent in a multi-family home. In this case, you’ll typically see that the landlord is an actual person and not a company. This landlord is who you will be dealing with on a monthly basis. Should an emergency come about, this is the person who you will turn to for assistance. Meeting the landlord enables you to determine their personality and likability upfront. It also helps to ensure they’ll be someone who is easy to contact on an as-needed basis.

If you are interested in an apartment for rent that is a part of a larger complex owned by a rental company, you still want to meet a company representative. Ask who is showing you the apartment; is it the property manager or a member of the maintenance staff? It should be.

Apartment Hunting Tip: Determine Overall Rental Costs

In addition to ensuring your money is wisely spent, it is important to opt for an apartment for rent you can afford. Take more than the monthly rental costs in mind. Consider security deposits, heat, hot water, garbage, and so forth. Ask the landlord for information on the average cost of utilities to get a good idea ahead of time. Even if you intend to rent a unit where all utilities are included, consider the added cost of extras, which may include television, phone, and internet. These extra costs should all be considered when calculating the cost of living there.

Apartment Hunting Tip: Meet the Neighbors

You might be surprised how much valuable information you can squeeze out of a neighbor in a friendly conversation. Do they know why the last renters left? How is the neighborhood? Is the area safe? You might also get the opportunity to see for yourself if your neighbors are nice, rude, or the type of people who have their speakers as loud as they can go. Is this an area you want to live in or someone you want to live next to?

Apartment Hunting Tip: Review the Lease

So you love the apartment, the landlord seems nice, and the neighbors claim this is a great neighborhood for your family. This is all great, but then you realize that the landlord filled the lease with possible fees, rules, and a bunch of stipulations. You want to realize this ahead of time. It is only natural for a lease to have a late fee or a return checked fee. No excessive noise after 10pm is also a common rule, along with no unruly parties. However, make sure you aren’t signing away your rights when reviewing a lease, which is a legal document.

Now that you got an idea about what you should do before you agree to rent an apartment and sign a lease, are your ready to start your search for apartments for rent?

How to Negotiate When Renting an Apartment

Renting an Apartment is Like Interviewing for a Job

When you are looking at apartments, it is almost like a job interview because the owner or agent is looking to pick the best tenant for this rental unit. The agent wants someone who will help keep up the value of the apartment. Here are some tips to help you get to the top of the line.

Look the part

You need to dress the part of a responsible person who will take good care of the apartment. You don’t need to wear a suit, but you should look neat and wear nice casual attire. As they say, you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression.

Act the part

Just like an interview, a firm (but not too firm) handshake is in order when you introduce yourself. Be sure to look the agent/owner in the eye and smile. I like to make some nice comment, like “what a view!” or “what a nice garden!” or something else positive. The agent will give you his/her card. I like to give my business card. It is a handy way to give my contact information and it shows again that I am a responsible person that can be entrusted with an apartment.

Be observant and ask questions

It is a lot better to see the apartment’s problems or flaws before you move in. If you see a water spot or suspect there may be flooding, ask questions about it. If the apartment is near the road, see if you can hear traffic. You should look at the unit with the same diligence you would use if you were considering buying the unit. If you see something, point it out and ask whether it will be fixed before you move in. It is a lot easier to get something fixed before you move in than after!

Visualize yourself in this apartment

I like to visualize myself living in the apartment. This helps because sometimes I can either be too critical or overlook major flaws in the apartment. If I really like a unit, there can be a halo effect so that I don’t see any flaws, until it may be too late. Drive through the neighborhood and see if there are people on the street. Do they wave to you? I find it comforting to know my neighbors are friendly. How far away is the grocery store? How close is the nearest restaurant? You are not just renting an apartment, but you are really renting a neighborhood. Trust your instincts. If there is a problem, try to resolve it or walk away.

If you don’t like something, speak up

Is there something about the apartment you don’t like? Is it perfect except for just one thing? Then speak up. For example, I looked at a rental condo that I really liked. It was spacious and close to the beach. However, it had an ugly old shag carpet that was burnt orange and even covered the steps to the second floor. When I was visualizing myself in this apartment, I just could not get past this shag carpet from the 70’s. Finally I thought, “what do I have to lose?” I am not going to take the condo in its present condition. I asked the realtor if it would be possible to replace the rug. Apparently others had complained as well and the realtor said “yes,” after consulting with the owners. I rented the condo with a nice new tan carpet that matched my furniture and was very happy. I know I would have been miserable if I had to deal with the orange run on a daily basis!

Follow these tips and you will be negotiating like a pro

Where to stay in Kiev, Ukraine: Kiev Apartments or Kiev Hotels?

Are you planning a trip to Kiev, Ukraine? If so, you may be wondering whether it is better to stay in a Kiev hotel or rent an apartment in Kiev. The purpose of this brief article is to list here some of the factors that will hopefully help you take the decision right for you.

Staying in Kiev hotels

Kiev hotels vary in quality and prices. Daily rates for some of them start from around USD50 per night, but usually hotels within this price category are located outside Kiev downtown and have pretty Soviet-like style. The average hotel rooms cost about USD100 per night and provide major amenities that you may need while in Kiev – room with a bathroom and hot water, telephone line, satellite or cable TV. More expensive hotels can provide high speed Internet and other nice amenities like hotel gym or nice swimming pool. Charge for some Kiev hotels includes breakfasts that may be pretty convenient way to start your day. The daily rates for some of the most expensive Kiev hotels are around USD500 per night.

Advantage of staying in a Kiev hotel is the ability to check-out any day you wish or extend your stay for as long as you want. Also, every-day cleaning, room service, some in-house restaurants, caf├ęs, gyms, swimming pools can be a nice thing to have around. Disadvantages include relatively high price for a small space you are getting, and low privacy.

Staying in Kiev apartments

Renting an apartment in Kiev is becoming increasingly popular among foreign guests to Kiev. Kiev apartments provide a lot of space (one-bedroom, two-bedroom or even three-bedroom apartments), excellent western-standard renovation, variety of amenities. All of Kiev apartments have telephone lines, cable TV, fridge, oven, kitchen with everything you may need to avoid expensive Kiev restaurants. Many apartments have satellite TV with numerous international channels, air-conditioning, CD-players, DVD-players. Some apartments have high-speed Internet or Jacuzzi.

Prices for Kiev apartments vary depending on the amenities and the exact location of any specific apartment. In particular, apartments in the very center of Kiev near Khreshatik St. and Independence Square are much more expensive than those further from Khreshatik or in other areas of Kiev. Accordingly, rates for the apartments vary considerably depending on those factors. The least expensive one-room apartments outside Kiev center can be available at the rates starting around USD30 per night, the most expensive luxury apartments can cost up to USD300 per night. The average rates are around USD60 for a studio, USD80-100 for a one-bedroom apartment, USD120-130 for a two-bedroom apartment. The above rates tend to change and may be different at the time you are reading this article.

There are no two Kiev apartments alike. It is not a hotel where you book one of the rooms which are all nearly the same. All of Kiev apartments are unique. Though, it is obviously an asset of apartments, it has also some downsides. In particular, it may be hard (if not impossible at all) to change the dates of your stay. For example, if you want to extend your stay in the apartment for a few days more, the apartment may already be booked by someone else. On the other hand, if you want to leave the apartment earlier, you will be required to cover for the whole period of your booking anyway, since the apartment was kept for you, and all other clients interested in the same dates were refused. The above disadvantages can be easily eliminated by more careful and thorough planning of the exact dates of stay.

The same uniqueness of the apartments causes another inconvenience. Landlords of good apartments are reluctant to commit to bookings shorter than five nights. If someone agrees to book an apartment for a shorter period, it often means that they will accommodate you in any apartment available at the date of your arrival. One-three night stays are not attractive for apartment landlords and agencies at all, so they will hardly be able to book anything specific. Exception is the situation when there is a few day opening between other bookings that fits the dates you are interested in. Four-night stays are somewhere on the edge. The agencies may book a specific apartment, but there is always a chance that its landlord will let the agency down and do not keep the apartment for such a short period.

In order to book a Kiev apartment, you will be required to provide a booking deposit in the amount equal to a one-night stay or a higher amount depending on each particular apartment and the length of your stay.

Availability of specific apartments is changing very fast, and some agencies have availability calendar with bookings a few months in advance. So, it is always good idea to book an apartment well in advance, at least three or four weeks before your trip.

Those are basically the major things to keep in mind when choosing between a stay in Kiev apartments or Kiev hotels. Regardless of what kind of accommodation you choose, you will enjoy your stay in this beautiful European city with so many things to offer to its visitors.