Once you've narrowed down your apartment search to a few final choices, it's time to visit the properties. When you go, you probably know that the apartment managers do everything they can to make the apartments look good, so it's important to carefully scrutinize everything you're told. Here are a few additional things many people forget to check that can greatly impact how happy you'll be in your new apartment.

1. The Air Conditioner

Especially in hot climates, the air conditioner can make or break your experience in an apartment by affecting both your comfort and your budget. When viewing a unit, write down the serial number of both the inside and outside unit of the air conditioner as well as the manufacturer's name. Each manufacturer encodes the manufacture date and cooling capacity of the AC into the serial number, and a quick online search will tell if the AC is properly sized to cool the apartment and how old it is—units even ten years old are far less efficient than modern units.

 2. Utility Bills

 Many power companies now give the average electric use for apartment complexes in their area. Find out who the power company is and ask for the stats on each apartment. High bills can be a sign of poor insulation, inefficient lighting, or outdated appliances. Additionally, some power companies are just more expensive than others. Finally, make sure you're comparing apples to apples by finding out if you pay for things such as water and trash removal and whether they're all included in the same bill. Utility bill differences can add up to 20% or more to the rent in lower rent areas, and you may find that a slightly more expensive, but modern apartment is cheaper in total.

 3. Cabinets and Drawers

 No matter how nice they look on the outside, open and inspect all of them before signing. If the interior is warped from water, uneven, or just old and worn, you'll notice it every time you open that door. It's a small thing, but thinking about how ugly a drawer is every time you get out your toothbrush adds up over time.

 4. Appliances

 In addition to checking the age of appliances to make sure they are modern and energy efficient like you did with the air conditioner, find out how they are hooked up. First, you want to make sure everything isn't on the same electrical circuit so you won't later find that you can't run your oven and your toaster at the same time. Second, if you've only seen a model or show apartment in which everything isn't hooked up yet, your storage space or aesthetics can be greatly affected once things are hooked up. Model appliances are often pushed up against the wall instead of leaving room for wiring to create the appearance of more space, and vents or piping may need to be added at the cost of shelf or cabinet space.

 5. Carpet

 If a potential apartment is carpeted, bend down and take a close look at it. When you view an apartment, the carpet will almost always have just been professionally cleaned and look brand new. However, once you start moving in and walking around every day, it will quickly return to looking old and worn if that's what it was.

To learn more, contact a local university housing real estate agent today or look at a website to read more.

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