The After Life: Five Apartment Features You Didn’t Know You Needed to Look For

It’s time: To spread your wings, to cut the cord, to roam free. Maybe in a new city and state, or maybe in the familiar environs of your college town or childhood home. Regardless of where you’re looking, apartment shopping is a daunting task.

Railroad-style? One-bedroom convertible? Cottage-cozy? Are these advertisements even in English?

As you wade through the sea of potential new abodes, let us help you out–here’s a few things you might not think to put on your list of apartment notables.

**Five Apartment Features You Didn’t Know You Needed to Look For**

1. Closets. You would think that closet space is a given, right? Bedroom, door, closet. Not all architects would agree. And once you’ve lived out of a Hefty bag for three weeks or had to get dressed in the hallway as you pull your clothes out of the coat closet, you’ll realize how precious that tiny alcove of space really is.

2. Electrical outlets. Have you ever considered the sheer number of things in your bedroom that use plugs? Phone charger. Computer charger. Air conditioner and/or fan. Bedside lamp. Need I go on? Count the outlets in those bedrooms, kids. Daisy-chaining power strips is just never a good idea–we don’t need to be electricians to know that.

3. Carpeting–or lack thereof. Those polished hardwood floors may be mighty fine, but some leases actually mandate that a certain percentage of hardwood flooring be covered by carpeting. The moment you finish arranging your couch, coffee tables, and entertainment unit is not the time to realize that a rug was supposed to go under all of that.

4. Laundry options. If you’re not afforded the luxury of your own washer and dryer, whether in your apartment or in the building, is there a laundromat reasonably close to your apartment? Something tells me that the commuters on your city’s public transportation wouldn’t be too excited about you climbing on board with your mesh bag of dirty gym clothes.

5. Super or landlord. Who handles maintenance or other problems for your building? Is he or she on-site, or does she live elsewhere? What methods do you have to get in contact with her? All of these questions will become supremely important the morning you discover your shower has no hot water and your super lives a half hour’s drive away.

But in spite of all this, remember: home is where you hang your hat!

Tara Powers is a Villanova grad working in publishing in New York City, the black hole of all real estate hopes and dreams (kidding [sort of]). She hopes that all of the doorknobs in your apartment remain attached to their doors, and writes about her fugly oven at Chip Chip Hooray.

Originally posted on Monday, August 6th, 2012

4 Responses to “The After Life: Five Apartment Features You Didn’t Know You Needed to Look For”

  1. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie

    August 7th, 2012

    I skipped out on one nice apartment a few years back when I was moving because it had full carpeting in the bathroom. I could only imagine what would slowly grow under there with all the humidity and water that is bound to get everywhere.

    And storage closets are a must! Even though I have a huge walk in closet in my bedroom, small pantrys in the kitchen and bathroom, and a coat closet in the entry way, I could’ve really used a closet just for storage.

  2. Justine

    August 7th, 2012

    I loved this! Living in apartments for the last four years has definitely taught me a lot of these lessons. The only thing I would add to number two is to make sure all the outlets actually work, or to arrange for them to be repaired before you sign a lease. I found out too late that the ONE outlet in our bathroom is broken, and apparently it would take rewiring the entire system to fix it, so we just have to deal until our lease is up next April.

    Which means no outlet. In the bathroom. You know, where you blow dry, straighten, and curl your hair. It’s maddening.

  3. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies

    August 7th, 2012

    I would add an adjunct to this as a next-step FYI – we were still apartment (well, Condo) living when we fell in love with and purchased our furniture. Suddenly things changed, and we decided to buy a house.

    A house built 30 years before our shiny rental condo, with small rooms and windows. The real estate in and around NYC varies so greatly, it can be a foolish move to purchase a ton of furniture before you actually own a place.

    To this day I regret buying our furniture about a year before we found a house. Everything we own, from bedroom furniture to living room and dining room – it’s all too big for this house.

    While I don’t advocate renting furniture for all that time, I do advocate going the cheaper “Ikea” disposable furniture route until you’re in a more permanent place.

    Don’t spend thousands on furniture you love, only to turn around and hate it when it’s too big (or small) for everywhere you need it.

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