Apartment hunting. The combination of words makes me want to spew. Sure, you can know all the questions you should ask when apartment hunting, but you'll never truly be safe. I know from experience that there's no other combination of words to strike fear into the heart of a New Yorker, aside from perhaps "the L train is down" or "it's not on Seamless". Affordable apartments are hard to find. Nice apartments are even harder. Affordable AND nice? Tell him he's dreaming! If you're lucky enough to be rent controlled or stabilized, stay where you are. There's nothing for you out there. Winter is coming in the form of tiny windowless rooms that cost a Sultan's fortune to rent. For those of you stuck with the dreaded apartment hunt, it's probably not as bad as I'm making it sound. Except that it definitely is.
As a grown-ass woman looking for an apartment, there are lots of questions to want to ask about your future home. Obviously, everyone has different things that are important to them, so you should always tailor your questions to suit your personal proclivities. The point is, that as an adult, you should be able to walk into a potential apartment with guns blazing, asking 20 questions like you're a mother of a teenage child. Because you will never know the answer to what you don't ask, and if you'll have less legal recourse to force your landlord to make changes later down the track when you realize there were things you omitted to ask about that are affecting your home life adversely. Here are some general questions (non-exhaustive) that a grown-ass woman should ask when apartment hunting:
1. How safe is the neighborhood?
Women should have the right to walk safely anywhere and everywhere. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case, and you have to be realistic. If you're someone who often catches the subway home late and night, you want to be doing so somewhere that doesn't have constant muggings/sexual assaults/other crimes.
2. What are the neighbors like?
I like to know exactly who I'm living next to. In the past, I've wound up with some pretty problematic neighbors simply because I didn't ask. Find out if they're single, families, how many people are in each apartment, what their jobs are and what pets they have. Otherwise you might be listening to Fido and Junior wailing a symphony at one in the morning and be sh*t outta luck.
3. Is there a responsive super?
You don't want to be waiting a week for someone to unclog your toilet or turn on the hot water for your shower.
4. Is the kitchen fully functional?
Grown-ass women need more than a microwave. Make sure there's a fully functioning fridge, oven, sink and stove top situation.
5. Can I fit my bed in the middle of the room?
As a grown-ass woman, your DOUBLE, QUEEN or KING (if you're super lucky) bed fits in the middle of the room with space on either side. We are not children anymore. We do not have beds that are pushed against walls.
6. Are the windows break-in proof?
Make sure all your windows lock, and if you're on the ground floor, your front door double bolts and windows all have bars over them. Renter's insurance is something grown-ass women have, but not because they expect to be broken into, but to cover extenuating circumstances that might never even occur.
7. Is the apartment fire safe?
Is the fire escape accessible, and does the fire alarm detect both smoke and carbon monoxide? You have a legal right to these, so make that clear if they're not already in practice.
8. Is there closet space?
Grown-ass women have places to hang all their lovely grown-ass women clothes and line up their grown-ass woman shoes. They don't have thing stuffed in corners and boxes and suitcases.
9. Can it be repainted before move in?
I'm particularly demanding, so I require a repaint, floor buff, and caulking of any gaps in the wall/cupboards before I move in. This stuff also is a renter's right, so don't be afraid to ask.
10. What's the bed bug history?
You can actually look this up for yourself at the bedbug registry. You should probably also ask about cockroaches, mice, and anything else gross and unhygienic.
11. How noisy is it?
Is there a bar down the street that stays open until 4AM? A recycling sorting point next door? Neighbors with a penchant for window shaking volume when they play Pitbull? Know thy neighborhood, otherwise you might be locking yourself into a year of sleepless nights.
12. Is it generally in good repair?
Just make sure everything is in fair working order and the place isn't falling apart. Check for hidden things like faulty shelves in cupboards, sway areas in the flooring and cracks in the ceiling. Anything that looks small but could potentially cause a huge situation down the track.
13. Can you cut me a deal?
If you're looking in winter, you can 100% get a better deal. Not many people move in winter, especially January and February, so it becomes a renter's market. Maybe it's a one and a half year lease. Maybe it's $50 cheaper a month. Maybe it's a term in the lease contract you'd like to be different. Don't be afraid to haggle. It's not cheap or tacky—it's business. Every cent counts! And if some place is going to be your home for the next year or foreseeable future, you deserve to get it right.
Images: Comedy Central; Giphy (7)