Sudden moves happen. And keeping your family safe and comfortable is an absolute priority. That said, looking for a family apartment in a far-away city or town is rough. You could pay for a hotel for your entire family until you can find an apartment, but that costs a pretty penny. Searching for an apartment remotely is much easier on your wallet, but it’s also much easier to end up living in a dump.
Moving without seeing your apartment first is overwhelming, but we promise, it will be okay.
There are plenty of precautions you can take to make renting an apartment sight unseen a successful mission, with a quality place and a quality property manager.
If you’re searching for a place in Chicago, you might want to narrow down your neighborhood options, since different areas will offer a wide-variety of family necessities. And if you’re searching in a city like Carmel, Indiana, for example, you know that you’re going to be in a family-friendly suburb, so there is less to worry about. Either way, it all starts with learning about the area you’re soon to call home and examining the apartment as best you can.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to get you started on your family-friendly apartment search.
- Give the Property Manager a Call
Although communicating via email can definitely be more comfortable than talking on the phone, vocal communication with your potential property manager will let you feel them out. It’s much easier to lie on paper or through email than over the phone or in person. Ask them questions and measure their responses. Generally, ask yourself if the person you’re talking to seems trustworthy. You can’t base your judgment on this point entirely, but it can be helpful. If you have trouble getting them to return your calls at all, that’s definitely an apartment hunting red flag.
- Request Lots of Pictures
Be sure to ask the property manager for multiple pictures of every room in the apartment. This will allow you to get a good idea of what the place looks like, both inside and out. Even better, ask the property manager to take you on a video tour of the place. If they seem hesitant to show you high-detail pictures of the apartment, then it’s probably not for you. You don’t want to rent a place that has something to hide.
- Measure the Space
Pictures can tell you a lot about an apartment, but they can also be deceitful. Certain camera angles and flattering lighting can make a space look much bigger (or more well-maintained) than it actually is. Ask the property manager for a floor plan and exact dimensions of each room if this information isn’t already listed online, then try to physically represent the size of each space. This will give you a good idea of just how roomy (or not-so-roomy) the apartment is.
- List of Furniture and Appliances
Simply saying that an apartment comes furnished isn’t enough info. Technically, even one piece of furniture qualifies a place as “furnished.” Ask the property manager for a list of furniture and appliances that come with the apartment, along with the dimensions of all major furnishings like sofas or beds. If you want to be thorough, ask for the brand and year of every appliance included in the kitchen. This way you’ll know exactly what to expect before walking through the door of your new place.
- Ask the Property Manager About Infestations
It sounds like an awkward conversation, but it has to be discussed at some point. If there has been a history of pest control problems, you might want to think twice about signing a lease. In many states, property managers are required to inform prospective tenants about a history of infestations — particularly in the case of bedbugs. But it’s important to know that many property managers, especially sketchy ones, might not offer up this unsavory info unless you ask outright. Put your mind at ease and ask before you’re stuck in a bad (and disgusting) situation.