Tip #92: Have a checklist.
In the spirit of not counting chickens before they’re hatched, I’m not going into details about last night’s apartment search. They’ll be plenty of time for that. Instead, here’s a list of things that I’ve found helpful to do while considering tiny apartments.
Here’s the thing: You’ll likely only get one chance to view a place before needing to commit, so it’s a smart idea to make sure that you’re covering your bases while you have the chance to be inside. If I’ve forgotten anything, I’m sure you’ll let me know:
Don’t be shy…
- Measure: If you’re looking at tiny apartments you’re likely looking at spaces that may not fit your existing furniture. Will your double bed hang over the bathroom door entrance? It’s hard to know for sure without a tape measure…and honestly, it’s nice to be able to quiet the chatter of an insistent broker with an actual measurement. Beds don’t shrink and walls don’t move, so know what you’re dealing with.
- Double check that the apartment has all of the appliances that you need or want. It’s easy to overlook the fact that there’s no oven, for instance, when the kitchen is really tiny. It might gross you out, but open the appliances up, too. Better to see what’s in store for you now.
- Check the water pressure. Don’t wait until your first shower to realize there’s nary a drop of water. Or that there’s a steady stream of brown goo, or anything else unsavory. (And then carefully consider renting the space…plumbing isn’t something that’s likely to get sorted easily.)
- Open the windows. Especially if you’re viewing an apartment in the evening and it’s hard to know what kind of air vent/rock band/screaming hellions might be lurking outside. Also good for determining whether there are screens, if the windows are painted shut, and whether the locks work.
- Whip out your compass. I know. But if light is important to you, it’s nice to know what kind of sunshine you’ll be getting. If you’re not living in 1890 and spending time on a boat, there are apps for this sort of thing…
- Open the cabinet doors: Try to overlook overflowing garbage cans and envision your own beautiful cleaning supplies lined up in a row…also make sure there’s not a disaster of a leak or mold or signs of buggy infestations, or anything else that needs more than a good scrub to fix. Do you know what roach poop looks like? Good.
- Along the same lines, peep along the baseboards. Look out for mouse traps, roach traps, ant traps, etc. Then proceed very cautiously.
- Flip the light switches. Brokers love to turn the lights on for you in an apartment, but it’s good to turn them off, too, so that you have a sense of what a space looks like in the natural light.
- Bring a cell phone charger or other small appliance. This one’s a bit fussy (and we haven’t done this in 99% apartments we’ve visited, but we have lived in more than one apartment with outlets that don’t work). Plug your phone into each socket and be sure that they all work, or that you can manage if they don’t.
- Take photos. Believe me, you’re going to want to obsess over look at them later. If you have a fancy phone and can take panoramic shots, even better.
Above all else: take your time. You have the right to do a thorough inspection.
Did you miss last week’s list of paperwork needed to rent an apartment in New York City? Head here.
For tiny apartment survival tips #1-91 here.