If you’re looking for a home to rent, chances are you know the general questions. You need to know how much they’re asking for rent, if it’s close to public transportation (but not actually living on top of a subway station), and you’re probably going to inquire about leasing guidelines. However, even after you’ve looked at the place (seen the size of the rooms, etc.), there are a few things you still might overlook. Here are some important questions you’d be sorry not to ask beforehand:
1.) How’s the cell phone signal? Nothing is quite as annoying as trying to carry on a conversation with someone while constantly moving around the house trying to chase a seemingly non-existent signal, even when your cellphone provider boasts supposedly “exceptional” signal strength. You’re going to want to know you can call 9-1-1 from anywhere in your home, including under the kitchen sink…just in case.
2.) How’s that elevator? Don’t be surprised if an apartment eight stories up brags about an elevator and then after you move in you find out it’s only for moving heavy freight. Or maybe it has an elevator, but it’s been out of service for three years. Or maybe it has a working elevator perfectly acceptable for people to use; it just moves at a snail’s pace. You might not think this even qualifies as a safety issue, but the first time you come home on crutches and try to navigate up eight flights of stairs, you’ll think differently about the value of that elevator.
3.) Who handles the maintenance? This includes both interior and exterior maintenance. If you live in a house instead of an apartment, you could be expected to do all of the exterior upkeep (like mowing the lawn and shoveling snow). If you live in an apartment, there may be a few different people that you need to call depending on the circumstances. A doorman may handle your mail, a super may handle basic maintenance issues or emergency issues (you smell gas in your apartment) and your landlord may handles more serious issues with your rental. Make sure you have a list of all the appropriate people you need to call should a problem arise, and don’t forget, if something comes up and you need help now, don’t bother calling your landlord, dial 9-1-1 and explain it later.
4.) What’s the parking situation? Many places offer a free parking space out front or even in a driveway, but if you’re looking to rent in New York the issues of parking is a whole other ballgame altogether. Parking is not only incredibly expensive, but having a set parking space will save you hours of time trying to find one when you arrive home every night. Plus, having to park half a mile away from your front door puts you at risk! If you can get a place that has a garage or a private parking, do it. It means you can walk from your car to your front door in a safe environment.
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