Five Renter Resolutions for 2011–make this your most livable year yet

Nothing like New Year’s. There is so much hope and fresh energy in the air, and it won’t be too much longer until I can go golfing again. But it is also a time to reflect on the past and think about what improvements you hope to make in the year ahead. We asked our leasing agents what advice they’d give to help renters make it their most livable year yet. So renters everywhere, take heed! Before you start your apartment search this year, consider the following tips:

  1. Put the pressure on. The funny thing about human nature is sometimes we are too nice and timid for our own good. Don’t be afraid to turn on the shower and test water pressure in the new places you are scoping out. Go for it! Assuming you shower frequently, bad water pressure can really be an annoyance. By all means, test the shower, faucets and even the toilet to make sure everything is flowing as it should.
  2. Ditch your crappy roommates. There is little worse than a passive aggressive roommate. Well, maybe a disrespectful slob. Whatever variety of bad roommate you are suffering from, don’t put up with it any longer. Home matters and not having a place you enjoy being at can really drag your spirits down. According to Adam Perres, director of leasing at our Belmont leasing center, this issue is far too common. Consider a studio apartment or assess your network for potential roommates that better match your lifestyle. We know moving isn’t fun, but a few days of work could result in years of happier living.
  3. Stick with your budget. Poor money management afflicts many young adults but an apartment lease is not the time to be unrealistic about your cash flow. And believe it or not, that goes both ways. We’ve seen many people get an apartment on the cheap only to be desperate for an upgrade in a matter of weeks. Sit down and make a realistic budget about what you can afford. The proverbial “rule of thumb” is to spend no more than a quarter of your income on rent.
  4. Be open to new neighborhoods. I think this is the best tip we can give you and it comes from Andrew Croegaert from our State Street leasing center. Chicago is a big city with many great neighborhoods. Don’t be stuck on one of the more well-known places and you can find a gem of an apartment. Where ever you end up, you can be sure you’ll be near great restaurants, coffee shops, bars and green spaces. Be open to other neighborhoods and you will get more for your money.
  5. Build your credit score. For anyone that’s found their dream apartment only to feel at the mercy of the application process and whims of the property manager, this one will really hit home. According to Leasing Manager John Herriott of our Edgewater leasing center, if a property manager has several applications for an apartment, they may choose the applicant with the best credit. So it is in your interest to at least know what your score is and do anything you can to get it in better shape. Not everyone will be able to make quick fixes, but in some cases, a few adjustments can be enough to get your score up.