Why your apartment is still on the market

April 22, 2009 at 11:19 am (Uncategorized)

Given that I’m about to move in a month, I started looking for apartments in my new home city. One of the difficulties of moving to an area that I’m not familiar with is trying to find a new place to live using only the descriptions that I find on Craigslist. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by the description is that people give of their apartments. As a public service to my readers, if any of you own property and are looking for new tenants, here are some pointers:

1. Include a picture. I know this sounds like a no brainer to most people, but having a picture of the facility is a good way to get perspective tenants to read your ad. If all I see is an outside shot taken from the street, I assume that there’s nothing on the inside worth looking at. And if all I see are bars on the windows, I don’t want to keep my stuff inside. I certainly don’t feel like getting robbed at 4:00 AM when I’m going to the hospital.

2. Give a description. Now that we’ve got the picture out of the way, I then want to know more about the apartment. Is the neighborhood quiet? How close are the neighbors? Are they quiet? Were the previous tenants smokers? Did the previous tenants own pets? Is this apartment pet-friendly? What is the crime rate in this neighborhood? When will the apartment become available? If the only thing that you can tell me is that this is a “hipster” pad, then I’ll assume that you’re an idiot.

3. List the amenities. Is there a washer/dryer included in the unit? Is there dedicated parking? Is there a pool? “Interesting kitchen cabinetry” is not an amenity if I can’t cook my food and later wash my dishes.

4. What is the true cost? I expect you to tell me what the monthly rent will be, as well as the expected utilities, deposit, and additional costs such as parking. Don’t try to sell me on an $800 apartment and then have additional stipulations in the contract such as homeowner association fees.

5. Give the correct number of bedrooms. I’m astounded by the number of people who list the den as a second bedroom, particularly when this second room does not have a closet and access to it requires walking through the first bedroom.



  1. Mephibosheth said,

    Can I recommend http://apartmentratings.com to you? I relocated from Cleveland to Phoenix last year and was having the same issues. I was most concerned about security because I wanted a cheap place and a short commute (I work downtown) but as we all know that tends to put you right in the middle of da ‘hood. I was able to find the only apartment complex with 24 hour security for under $300/month and couldn’t be happier.

    Half M.D.: I’ve started using apartmentratings.com and have found some pretty startling things about the apartment complexes that claim to be so great on their websites.

  2. Rebecca said,

    I will add, if your rent is below market rate for the area for a good reason, you should explain that in your posting, otherwise I will automatically assume there’s something horribly wrong with it and not even waste my time.

    There’s an apartment community in my area that rents 2-bedrooms for less than the market rate of a 1-bedroom. You have only to look at apartmentratings.com to find out why…

    Half M.D.: I also wish that people knew the meaning of the word “luxury.”

  3. Chris said,

    When I moved to DC in 2000, I found spaces through NIH. That was the most effective way back then.

  4. L said,

    I don’t know where you’re relocating to, but in the current market buying a house can be a really good option. I got so frustrated with renting that instead of paying another 5 years of rent until I’m done with my program, I bought a house. No more craigslist apartments for me.

    Half M.D.: Unfortunately, (1) I’m headed to an expensive area and (2) I’ll only be there for one year for an internship before heading off to residency. I just can’t buy a place at this time.

  5. Kim said,

    re “hipster pad”: In addition to assuming you’re an idiot, I’m also going to assume the place is kind of trashed and you’re supposed to be young and irresponsible enough not to care!

  6. Kara said,

    Don’t listen to Apartment Ratings.com. The only people who bother to use that website is disgruntled jerks. Lets face it the statistics of happy to unhappy has to be against this bi tc hfest website.

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