Apartments are real gems if you live in a city. I am a city dweller through and through, and I’ve grown up in the Bronx and now live in Manhattan, and I don’t think I can live anywhere else in the world. Having said this, I have lived in several apartments in my life, some of the most luxurious lofts and even some apartments that look like they were taken out of hell.
This is why we are here to teach you some of the things you ought to look out for when apartment hunting. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the things you need to know and look into before buying or investing in an apartment.
1. Location and amenities
Before you start looking for a property, you should define the main criteria.
The location is an important criterion, as is the surface area or the number of bedrooms.
On the other hand, the location is crucial as it will also define your lifestyle. Here are some factors that can influence the location of your future property:
- Is it close to your workplace?
- Is there public transportation?
- Will you need to buy a second car?
- Will the children access a college or a high school via public transport?
- Are there shops or grocery stores nearby?
- Is a hospital or pharmacy nearby?
As you can see, choosing a location also involves making important life choices for yourself and your family. Unfortunately, the best locations are often the most expensive, so you will have to work within your budget.
2. The apartment and the current build
Apartments located in condominiums have a trustee who votes when work needs to be done. Thus, you must know if work is taking place or if work must be done later. If work has already been voted on, the former owner must pay for it.
However, if work is being considered and voted on at a later date when you become owners, it will be your responsibility to pay (your share).
The most expensive work is that which affects the structure of the building: stairwell, roof, façade, etc. If work of this nature must be done in a few years, it generally implies that significant costs will have to be advanced. In any case, it is preferable to contact the building’s trustee to find out more.
3. What is your budget?
First of all, you need to know the budget you have for your property. Generally, it is made up of savings and a loan that you will have to take out with a bank.
If you can use one of the many online calculators, the best thing to do is to make an appointment with your banker to determine how much money you can borrow. Then you will know what your budget is.
4. AC or HVAC system
I’m a New Yorker through and through and let me tell you, you will need to find an apartment with central air and a heating system because it gets really hot during the summer, and it freezes like hell in the winter. Whatever the type of property you visit, run your hand over each wall. This will allow you to detect certain defects not always visible to the naked eye.
If the wall is cold or damp, beware. Also, if you see a visual defect, you may be able to detect the nature of the problem by running your hand over the wall: old cracks, filled holes, old water or gas pipes, etc.
5. Energy bill
When looking into properties, you need to ask your real estate agent or realtor about the energy bill and how much this usually costs, and it’s average for each property. Older properties often have higher energy costs, so heating will cost you more if the property uses older materials.
To find out more about the charges you will have to pay, and you can ask the current owner for the energy bills. If you are visiting an apartment, you can ask to see the utility bills if heating is included.
Then, a very interesting document is the energy diagnosis of the property. It is mandatory for any sale or rental. In this document, you will also find advice to improve the property’s energy consumption. It can also give you an idea of the work to be done later.
When visiting an apartment, it is never a love at first sight kind of deal, and you should never buy the first apartment that you visit because you will most definitely find something better later down the line. If you don’t like any other apartments, then you can always go back to the first apartment.
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