Once upon a time, there were newspaper listings of apartments for rent. Then rental listings in glossy magazine-like formats. Craigslist became a popular renter’s resource. These were common ways to find an apartment – once upon a time. Renters searching for an apartment in this area will have to expand their search methods to find and secure an apartment in today’s rental market.
Scoring an apartment
Apartment-seekers should be aware of the state of rentals in this area:
• Inventory is much tighter
• Rents rates are rising as the economy improves
• Demand for apartments is increasing
• Craigslist and newspaper ads are less relevant than specialized search engines
• This is considered to be one of the least affordable areas in the country (as of mid-2013)
More rental property owners and apartment seekers are turning to brokers to represent and manage apartment rental transactions. This is particularly true in urban areas where there is greater reliance on brokers and aggregation websites with a broad range of listings.
Remodeling after scoring and apartment
So let us say that your broker has several apartments for rent that he wants you to consider. You visit each and although any of them meets most of the want/must have items on your apartment wish list, the units are dated and dreary. Still,one of those apartments could work for you, so you sign a rental agreement. How do you reduce the “icky factor” of the interior?
Hopefully, you have read all the fine print in the rental agreement about what you may and may not do to make changes to your apartment. Many rental management agencies will agree to minor changes- with one stipulation: you must return the apartment to its original state before moving out. Get written permission from the landlord or management group before starting any remodeling project.
Financial advisors recommend against spending a lot of money on remodeling when renting apartments. The impermanence of apartment renting is exactly that – not permanent. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for dreariness or limited functionality. Apartment dwellers have attractive and easy remodeling options that are reversible for the time when they eventually move on. These are some of the more currently popular apartment remodeling ideas:
• Paint – consider bright or signature colors but remember that light colors will make small spaces appear larger and help reflect natural light into darker areas. Color can be incorporated through accent pieces.
• Design for scale – furniture, shelving, decorations should all be apartment/room size appropriate. Oversized anything can overwhelm a small space.
• Remove kitchen cabinet doors from their hinges to create open shelving.
• Replace hardware – kitchen, bathroom, wherever there are drawer pulls and cabinet knobs.
• Refresh/redefine flooring – cork squares, carpet tiles, mats, indoor/outdoor rugs can refresh the kitchen and bathroom areas; deep-clean carpeted areas; clean and polish vinyl and wood flooring.
• Maximize storage space – the space underneath stairs can be adapted for storage or book shelving; add an over-the-toilet cabinet for additional storage; pegboards can hold oft-used kitchen utensils.
• Switch out light fixtures and switch plates
• Removable stickers/decals can be attractive wall art or update kitchen back splashes and bathroom tiles.
• Use panels, curtains, dividers, or shelves to demarcate areas.
• Neatness – eliminate clutter. Too many accessories consume precious interior real estate as does generalized messiness.
Finding an apartment for rent may be a challenge but “remodeling” it can help diminish the memory of your rental-seeking efforts. The remodeling suggestions in this article don’t really restructure your apartment. Rather, they can increase functionality and give the impression of greater space and personalization. And more importantly, they are reversible and portable for that time when you need – or want – to move on