Nine Practical Tips to Avoid Being Unhappy in Your Apartment
When it comes to evaluating a potential living space, we all know the basics: the square footage of a bedroom ought to exceed that of your mattress. There should be a bathroom involved. Preferably in working condition. Asking questions is always advised: Are those the eyes of a neighbor peeping out through the cut-outs in that Marisa Miller poster on the shared wall? Will those unseemly bloodstains be removed before the proposed move in date?
By all means, cover the basics. But if the apartment passes your initial once-over, here are a few secondary things to consider. Easy to overlook, these factors have been the downfall of more than a few student living situations. So take notes — they might just save your life one day.
Or at least your sanity.
Soundproof Test: A necessity. While you and your roommate(s) stand in your respective rooms, shut doors, bang around, sing and shout as loud as you can to find out how soundproof the walls are. The last thing you want to hear is your roommate and their significant other(s) going at it while you pound out your thesis paper.
Cramped Quarters: Limited counter space and sink depth may make your kitchen space appear overwhelmingly unkempt when, in reality, the clutter is limited to only a dish or two. This may lead to many a passive aggressive post it, and should be kept in mind. Same goes for fridge size.
Electric Feel: You are most likely aware of whether your belongings will, in fact, fit into your prospective apartment, and probably have a sense of furniture layout. Consider where the outlets are in relation to your layout. Is the lone outlet in your living room far opposite your couch? If so prepare for a hazardous tangle of wires over which you will inevitably trip.
School’s Out: What is more precious than the sounds of a child’s laughter? Silence. When it comes to the block on which you will live, I assure you, silence is infinitely preferable to the intolerable medley of shrieks and squeals that accompany the 2:50 p.m. elementary school let-out.
Levelheaded: Listen to Dad and bring along that damn level to your viewings. Head right for the stove. A slanted stove top is a real hassle. If you don’t have a level, a marble will do.
Lights Out: Be wary of charming lighting fixtures. The woman showing the apartment will be quick to point out that fashionably vintage polychrome gilt art deco bridge lamp — but not so fast, realtor lady! Inside that stylish vintage fixture is a stylish vintage bulb that will cost you a fortune to replace after its 30-day lifespan expires.
Love Thy Neighbors: As you ascend the seven flights to what the realtor has been referring to as the “penthouse suite,” cast a discerning eye about for insight into your potential neighbors. Note the NRA sticker collection lining the doorframe of 2C, the Natty Ice cans precariously balanced outside 6A, the soulful sounds of Barry White leaking from 7B. If you love funk, fratstars and riflery, you’ve hit the jackpot! If not, that “penthouse suite” better come with a washer and dryer.
Waterworks: Bottom floor apartment? Brooklyn two-story, basement included? Prepare yourself for flooding of biblical proportions. Bring a flashlight with you, keep an eye out for past water damage and ask if the space is prone to flooding. If so, you’ll need to invest in a pump, dehumidifier and a lot of spare towels.
Short Fuse: Identify where the fuse box is located. What’s a fuse box, you ask? It’s a distribution board that divides an electrical power source into different circuits. All you need to know, however, is that if you’re having electrical troubles, you want to be sure that the fuse box isn’t located outside, four flights below.