On the list of most stressful events in a person’s life, moving is pretty high up there. It’s hard and it’s not fun, but the result is usually a good thing — a shiny new place to call home. Renting the right apartment is a huge decision with many factors involved — most importantly, your emotional well-being. We talked to real estate experts to find out exactly how to factor your happiness into an apartment decision.
What’s your commute time?
This came up with almost every expert I talked to as the most important thing to consider when renting a new apartment. People are shown to be least happy when they’re commuting to and from work, so factoring where your apartment is located in relation to your job — as well as grocery stores and other places you frequent — is important. For you, a happy spend might be putting a little extra cash toward a place located in a convenient spot.
How are the windows and natural light?
Natural light boosts your mood and provides a myriad of other health benefits, including improved sleep. To make sure your apartment is getting the light you need, try to visit it at different times of day. If that’s not possible, Noemi Bitterman of Warburg Realty says you should learn which way the windows face so that you can know when/if the light comes in through the windows in the morning or afternoon. “Not a morning person? Look for west facing windows, or get shades to cover the light in the early hours of the morning,” she says. However some apartments with poor natural light and awkward window placements might offer better deals, so that’s a factor when considering if this is the apartment for you.
How quiet is it?
Is the bedroom right over an exit to a popular bar? Is a school (with awesome — but loud! — kids across the street?) And if so, how well insulated is your place? Living in a place that’s calm and quiet will help you relax after a long day, so definitely consider if there are any sound issues. Further, Eric Mendelsohn of Warburg Realty warns that construction noises can be a bigger deal than you realize. “One of the biggest complaints I hear is from tenants wanting out of their lease is because of nonstop noise due to construction,” he says. If you look at apartments over the weekend, the noise levels are likely much different than during the week. “Be sure to walk around the area and check for buildings that are or will be going under construction in the near future,” Mendelsohn warns.
Do your landlords care about the building?
Another key to happiness at your apartment is having a responsible landlord and/or super. How to find that out? Check out the basement of the building. “A well kept up basement is the sign of a clean building,” says Mendelsohn. It’s also an indication of how present landlords and supers are — if they care enough to keep things ship shape downstairs, they’re more likely to be attentive to the needs of the entire building.
Can you have a pet later if you want one?
Pets are great for our health and happiness, and if you think you ever might want one, you should prepare now. Knowing — and potentially negotiating — a pet policy can save you future hassle when it comes to a four-legged companion.
Does it have everything you need?
This includes a few factors: Does it include the amenities you want? Is not having a dishwasher a deal breaker or would you sacrifice appliances for a backyard? Having a checklist of your wants and needs will help you determine if this new place has all the stuff you can’t live without.
Is it a good deal for YOU?
The happiness factor is one of the most important things to consider when you’re looking at renting a new apartment. For example, you might be OK with a longer commute if it means you have a bigger place. Or you might sacrifice space if it means you can have a puppy. Figure out what makes you truly happy and then weigh your decisions using that as a barometer.