You’ve got it narrowed down to two apartments but are trying to figure out which apartment between the two to choose?
Fortunately, there is an easy way to figure out which apartment to choose.
You can print the below blank comparison chart, and then fill it out. Then, read this blog post to help you fill out the chart and come with a winner.
Just because an apartment has a lower list price than another, doesn’t mean it is better value.
Just like when you go to the grocery store, and see one pack of soft drinks for $5 and another pack of soft drinks for $6. Which one would you get? To determine the best deal, you should calculate which package has more drinks (i.e. which one is the better deal).
The same concept applies to apartments.
To figure out what’s the best “value”, you need to take into account size (square footage) of each apartment.
Let’s take an example…
- Apartment A is $1,200 in rent and 1,000 square feet.
- Apartment B is $1,200 in rent and 800 square feet
Do: $1,200 / 1,000= $1.20 square foot (Apartment A)
Do: $1,200 / 800 = $1.50 square foot (Apartment B)
We see Apartment A in actually a much better deal per square foot.
Do the same math for the apartments you are comparing, and input values into the chart.
More Accurate Value Calculation:
For a more accurate value calculation, you need to know whether utilities are included in each and then subtract out approximate value of included utilities. Then, take that new ‘adjusted’ number and divide by square footage. Check out this blog post on comparing apartment prices if you need more assistance with this.
Next up on the chart is affordability. How affordable is each apartment based on your income? If both apartments are +/- $10 for example, it probably doesn’t create an affordability issue for you. However, if one apartment is $100 more a month, it very well might.
Be sure to take ‘affordability’ into equation when comparing apartments. This is personal decision based on your income.
The next part is location. Get up Google Maps or similar map feature that lets you calculate travel time and calculate the following for each apartment:
- Distance to work
- Distance to grocery stores, schools, restaurants, transit.
Focus on commute time, rather than mileage.
In evaluating location, it’s prudent to look into general crime statistics of the areas. If both apartments are in same neighborhood, there may not be a difference. No area or neighborhood is ever “crime free” but historical crime rates can be measured, and should be researched as part of your search process.
In-Unit features – Which apartment has items you want on your list. Below are the most popular features but feel free to add or subtract any that you need.
- Washer/Dryer (in-unit or nearby)
- Central Air
- Quiet/Sound Control Measures in place
- Entrance Type
- Large Closets
- Pet-Friendly (if needed)
Apartment Complex Features – Which Apartment has:
- Better feeling when you are on site
- Amenities you want (i.e. swimming pool, clubhouse, gym)
- Is Parking Good? Ask about parking and if there are enough spots. How Far Away, etc.
- Is there an elevator (if important to you?)
- Well Lit at Night?
- Reasonable Safety Measures in Place? See 14 Questions To Ask About Safety
5. Reputation / Good Management
Few things will destroy your experience like bad management. Now that you have researched the above, you need to take into consideration reputation of management.
- Does the building have a good reputation?
- Does management seem responsive to maintenance requests?
- Are grounds and building well kept up?
- Have you been treated professionally through the process?
- Have you asked others and the building how apartments are prepared?
Once you compare these features, and fill out the chart, you should easily be able to make a decision that right for you. Good news is that most leases are 12 months, so if you don’t like it, you can always move out at the end of your lease. Careful planning and research will help avoid mistakes.