Apartment hunting can be stressful, and living in an apartment isn't always a picnic either. From noisy neighbours to horrible landlords and tight spaces, things can get dicey. But with the right tricks up your sleeve, apartment life can be awesome. Here are 10 ways to make that happen.
10. Find The Perfect Pad
The first step to better apartment living is, obviously to find a good apartment to begin with. The key is research. In the internet era, comparing options is much easier than it used to be, but with rental properties in high demand, you'll still need to assign time for actual viewings on the weekend. Plan out your viewings in advance; otherwise you'll waste time needlessly moving from location to location. Photo by Matt Biddulph.
9. Cultivate A Good Relationship With Your Landlord
When you're looking for an apartment, don't just look at the unit -- pay close attention to the landlord too. Avoid future problems by getting everything in writing, documenting the condition of the apartment, and knowing your rights. Hopefully you won't have too many problems, but if something ever does go wrong, make sure you hold your landlord accountable.
8. Save On Rent
Many landlords are willing to negotiate on price, as long as you aren't competing with a bunch of other tenants. Aim for a 12-month lease if you can; that avoids too many unexpected price rises. Photo remixed from originals by The Noun Project, Maurizio Pedrazzoli, and Bev Sykes.
7. Upgrade It (Temporarily)
One of the major downsides of apartment living is that you usually can't renovate or upgrade fixtures. But if you want to put in the work, try talking to your landlord -- they might be OK with you making changes, especially it if ends up saving (or making) them money in the long run. Photo by Geoffrey Fairchild.
6. Ease Roommate Tension
If you're living with roommates, you have a whole new set of things to deal with. For example, you have to divide up all your expenses, and share a close quarters living space. The former can be easily managed with a service like Splitwise, and almost everything else just means you should have a conversation and set ground rules early on. Photo credit.
5. Deal With Noisy Neighbours
When you live in a house, your neighbours are separated by...well, another house. When you live in an apartment, your neighbours are separated by what seem appears to be paper-thin "walls". If your neighbour is prone to loud music, lovemaking or Dance Dance Revolution binges at 1am, you have options. Obviously you can have a conversation with them, but depending on the circumstances, it may pay to go to the management or send them more subtle messages. You could fill out this complaint form and slip it under their door too. And if you don't have any noisy neighbours...make sure you're not the noisy neighbour. Image remixed from YuriArcurs.
4. Avoid The Dreaded Rent Increase
Just because you got a good initial deal on rent doesn't mean it will stay that way. Landlords increase rent all the time, and if you aren't prepared, you'll end up paying more next year than you did this year. If an increase seems unreasonable, try and negotiate to a halfway position -- the expenses if you move out will cut into any profit your property owner makes from the rise, so point that out. Photo by Monkey Business Images (Shutterstock).
3. Save On Energy Costs
You can't make major renovations, but you can install window shades and use energy-efficient lightbulbs to cut down on power costs. One easy saving? Cut down on the use of clothes dryers -- air drying is just as effective and cost-free.
2. Make It Feel Like Home
You may not be able to repaint your apartment, install new carpet, or make any other permanent changes, but you can still customise it and make it feel like home. Use photos and frames creatively to keep the walls from looking too bare, and add a large rug or other floor covering to switch things up. Stick to good design principles and a little can go a long way.
1. Use Your Space Wisely
The most useful apartment tips we encounter always have to do with saving space. It makes sense, since apartments can be pretty tight fits -- especially if you're renting in a big city. You can save a lot of space with cheap household products, though -- like command hooks, bed risers, and over-the-door storage racks. Just remember: use your vertical space when you don't have horizontal space, especially where it's easily out of sight.