Staten Island Apartments Search Tips
Finding a home or apartment to rent can be daunting. Use these tips to help guide you through your search.
Ask to see recent utility bills from both the summer and winter months. Inquire about how well the home is insulated. Remember that heat rises - a first floor apartment may be impossible to heat in the winter or a top - floor apartment may be impossible to cool in the summer. Windows play a large role in a home's insulation - generally, new ones outperform old ones thermally.
Choosing areas you feel comfortable in will help to narrow your search. Decide if you need to be close to public transportation, shopping, schools, or family & friends and you can quickly narrow down your search area.
Don't be afraid to "scope out" the block your prospective new home is on. Do it on different days and times. Is parking an issue? Do you have easy access to public transportation? Are there any nearby stores or restaurants that benefit you?
Meet some of the neighbors and be willing to ask questions about the landlord, the property, and anything else of importance to you.
Look into transportation options from the home's location. Does it offer easy access to your workplace? If you work from home, is the area quiet during the day?
Did you meet the landlord, managing agent, or a part-time employee of the building? Insist on meeting the landlord and make sure you get direct access to him/her, whether it's a cell or home number. Ask to check the number then and there if he/she gives you his cell. Good landlords want to know what is going on and won't mind hearing from tenants.
Did you thoroughly inspect the apartment? Do the windows open easily? Ask questions and check for recent improvements.
Determine what is included in the rent. Do you pay for utilities? Clear up any gray areas from the start.
If a repair is necessary, does the landlord have a handyman, plumber, and electrician on call? Do you have their contact numbers? Who is responsible for shoveling snow and cutting the grass? It's best to figure these things out before you need to know.
Does the landlord have a monthly exterminating contract? When was the home last treated? Does the landlord have written proof? Don't be afraid to have the apartment inspected by a licensed exterminator - you may be glad you did.
Will the landlord give you a lease? Is it sub-leasable? If there is no lease, be sure to have a simple written arrangement showing the amount of security paid plus the agreed upon notice of vacate. The norm is typically 30 to 45 days.
Are carbon monoxide and smoke detectors located throughout the home? Are they hard-wired or battery operated? Does the home have a security system? Are the locks on doors all operational? Are stair railings all tightly secured?
Do you have your own exterior door and key or is the exterior door common to several tenants? Can guests be buzzed in at the exterior door? Are there security cameras or doormen?
Are laundry machines provided for tenants? Are they common to the building or just you? If not, where is the nearest laundromat?
Are there places to shop nearby, possibly within walking distance? Are there nearby restaurants?
Is there a pet policy? Even if you don't have one now, you may want one in the future. Or on the other hand, you may not want to have to hear a neighbor's pet from your apartment.
Are appliances included? If appliances break, who is responsible for repairing or replacing them? If there are appliances, are they of good quality?
Are there any nearby entertainment areas, such as parks, zoos, etc.? For families, easy access to these things can be important.
Did you measure the rooms? It's good to know how your furniture would fit in the new space.
What is the policy on home improvements? Can you put in a carpet or take the old one up?
Who is responsible for painting the home? Can you choose the colors to fit your taste?
Gather Your Paperwork
The best way to secure a rental is to have a competitive edge over other possible applicants. Written references either from employers, landlords or colleagues, current pay stubs, copy of W2, and a current copy of your credit report.
You can order a copy of your credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com or directly from one of the three major national credit bureaus:
Wants & Needs
We all have a tall order of what we would like to have, however, the priority lies with what we need and what we can afford to meet that need. Be realistic and think carefully since it is an expense to move and it is not something you want to do every year if you can avoid it. Your initial outlay will be your first month rent, a month security, and a month broker fee. This is standard in the industry and state of New York. In some instances a landlord who may agree to pets may also require an additional month security.
The biggest mistake renters make is not asking questions. Then, a few weeks into their rental, these renters are in an unfavorable situation due to lack of communication. Don't fall into this trap; ask all the questions you can think of.
Some Good Questions
- What utilities am I responsible for?
- Is there storage?
- Is there specific parking?
- Is there a policy on the use of the yard?
- Will there be a lease or rental agreement?
- Are there any washer/dryer hookups?
- Are pets allowed?
- Will repairs be my responsibility?
- Who can I call for an emergency?
It is always good policy to be open and honest - especially with your landlord. Keeping in close contact with the landlord, especially an absentee one, is a positive move. In the event there is any problem, always let the landlord be aware so it can be resolved immediately before it becomes an issue. Always protect yourself making sure you do alert the owner so that you cannot be held responsible for an issue later.
Upon completing a transaction and receiving a key it is a good idea to walk through again and take note and perhaps even photos of the property condition as you are receiving it. Email a copy to yourself and the landlord so everyone is on the same page and there are no questions later. Normal "wear and tear" is always allowable but abused property is different. At the time of your walkthrough be sure to receive all deposits and money exchange in written receipt form so that you have proof of having paid your full month deposit at that time.
Use an Agent!
Just as you want your rental to go smoothly so do we and the landlord. We hope these tips were helpful and that we can assist you in all of your Real Estate needs. We are endorsed brokers of New York State Association of Realtors working to address your every need and provide you with quality service. We pride ourselves in professionalism, expertise, and ethical business practices. We can guide you through the process of finding the place that's right for you.
Let us do the work for you and you won't be disappointed. Our highly trained and experienced Real Estate Professionals not only work on Staten Island but also live here. We are the Staten Island rental experts and we are ready to work for you.
Fill out the short contact form with "Rental" as your subject line and a message explaining how we can exceed your expectations during your rental search. Please be as detailed as possible, and we will be sure to get back to you to assist with your rental real estate needs.