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Old 04-15-2017, 08:30 PM
 
535 posts, read 224,940 times
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Hi,

I am looking to move out into my first apartment and I was wondering how much stock I should put into online apartment reviews? Apartments I am looking at are not in my current area so it's not like I have people I can ask or check the out all the time. I know people are more likely to get online to share a bad experience than a positive one.

Did you use apartment ratings to make a choice or did you not even look at them? I have friends who moved into apartments that were lower rated online and have loved them. I have some that never read reviews, and other who moved into lower rated ones and had the same issues as the reviews.

Any advice would be helpful. If you have any suggestions on things I should look for in my search that would be great. I will be making my second scouting trip in May. I am also not looking into renting from a person, but a company if that helps

Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2017, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Back in the Mitten. Formerly NC
3,819 posts, read 4,884,915 times
Reputation: 5254
Ask for suggestions in the local City-Data forum. When I was relocating, they were a tremendous help.

When I was looking in an unfamiliar area and out driving through complexes, my quick rule of thumb was to look at the cars. Typically, someone who has a newer car (mid level to high end) isn't going to live somewhere really bad for fear of it getting stolen. Obviously, this is not an exact science. But I would investigate a complex further if there were some Audis or BMWs in the parking lot.
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Old 04-15-2017, 09:20 PM
 
535 posts, read 224,940 times
Reputation: 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynarie View Post
Ask for suggestions in the local City-Data forum. When I was relocating, they were a tremendous help.

When I was looking in an unfamiliar area and out driving through complexes, my quick rule of thumb was to look at the cars. Typically, someone who has a newer car (mid level to high end) isn't going to live somewhere really bad for fear of it getting stolen. Obviously, this is not an exact science. But I would investigate a complex further if there were some Audis or BMWs in the parking lot.
Thank you! Investigate further if some BMW and Audis in a good way or bad way? Sorry I just want to make sure I understand that part of the comment

Good tip about the cars!
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Old 04-15-2017, 09:52 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
21,028 posts, read 25,842,934 times
Reputation: 39498
Make sure you see the actual apartment that you will be renting. Not the model apartment that is going to be clean and nice because no one lives in it.

If the apartment is clean and in good repair, the landlord takes good care of his property. If it is not, what you see is what you get and the landlord does not do maintenance.

Take a lot of photos of the apartment before you move your stuff in. Photos of every detail. Then you have proof of the condition when you moved in.

Read the lease and understand it before you sign. It is a legal contract and you will be bound by it. Get all promises in writing. If it isn't in writing it never happened. Do all your repair requests in writing.

Last edited by oregonwoodsmoke; 04-15-2017 at 10:16 PM..
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:17 AM
 
Location: Back in the Mitten. Formerly NC
3,819 posts, read 4,884,915 times
Reputation: 5254
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohyellowbug View Post
Thank you! Investigate further if some BMW and Audis in a good way or bad way? Sorry I just want to make sure I understand that part of the comment

Good tip about the cars!
I was just giving an example of cars.
A lot full of old rusty cars is probably somewhere I'd avoid. I would eliminate it from my list.
If I spot several newer mid level (a full sized truck, SUV, Chevy Malibu, Dodge Charger, Honda Accord, etc...) cars or higher end (Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, etc...) cars, I'd research more. Because people who drop $25K plus on a car aren't likely to rent somewhere with high theft/crime.
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Old 04-16-2017, 06:33 AM
 
8,325 posts, read 17,688,151 times
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You can read the online ratings, but don't put too much stock in them.

You need to go and visit the complex for yourself...tour the grounds, talk to current residents, ask them about crime, noise and such. Post in the city/state forum here on CD and ask them about the area...But if for you make an informed decision, you need to go and see for yourself. Do not rent or hold a unit sight unseen.

the thing with the cars?? Yeah, don't put much stock in that either...you can't gauge an area by what people are driving. I wouldn't consider a 25k car a 'higher end' car and you find all types of cars in high crime areas as well as low crime areas.

You might be able to do a crime search on the local law enforcement website...call them and see if they have such a thing. We do and it's very useful when looking at a new area because not all crimes hit the news media.
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Old 04-16-2017, 06:44 AM
 
5,492 posts, read 5,220,798 times
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I lived in apartments where they got horrible ratings, but it was not the case for me. So i think some of them are spoiled complainers that want more than what you can expect in an apartment/ or horrible renters that have screwed up their apartment and when the landlord caught them, they got mad.

So one thing to look for - check it out for yourself. The only way to make sense out of any of these comments about an apartment is check to see if many many reviews write the same kind of thing.

You could be brave and ask the potential landlord, that you read some reviews, and it said ______. Can you explain why? For example, a bunch of renters for the apartment I am in complained that rent got raised 400%. I asked about this. The lady said that it is because each person gets a month free. They spread it over a year. So then when their rent gets raised the 2nd year, it is based on the original - not the comped rate - and they THINK it is 400% but it is not. When i heard that, i knew that is why they fooled themself and are now complaining for nothing. the rent was NOT raised 400% but they based it on the wrong criteria.

So, just ask the landlord to clarify about these comments, and maybe you will get an answer and determine whether the comments are disgrunted ex-renters or what. See for yourself, if the complaints are about cleanliness or whatever...

also you can ask people that are leaving the building how they like it or not.
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
5,884 posts, read 7,113,127 times
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When my son was looking for an apartment in a new area, and we knew no one, we looked at the reviews. We discounted them a bit as we knew that people with a negative opinion were more likely to post a review. We looked for trends in the reviews such as noise or management was not responsive to fixing things. We ignored what we considered to be single incident reviews such as "the woman is the office is horrible" or "they charged me when I moved out because the apartment wasn't clean enough."

We didn't visit the places with bad review trends such as noise, etc.

The car trick is one I used decades ago when I was looking for a first apartment after college. Used it again with my son. Sure there are exceptions, but if one sees a bunch of jacked up cars or old, poor condition cars that speaks to the type of tenant in the complex.

Because our son's new home was an airplane ride away, we had to stay in a hotel while we looked. The desk clerks were similar in age to our son so we asked them for suggestions about apartments and what they thought of certain complexes. Also asked a couple of bartenders.

BTW--before someone suggests we were not letting our son handle things on his own, we did let him make the decisions. We helped set up appointments, etc. We simply had more time available. We also accompanied him because he was 21 and unable to rent a car, and because we wanted to see this new part of the country (for us).
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:09 AM
 
535 posts, read 224,940 times
Reputation: 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim in FL View Post
You can read the online ratings, but don't put too much stock in them.

You need to go and visit the complex for yourself...tour the grounds, talk to current residents, ask them about crime, noise and such. Post in the city/state forum here on CD and ask them about the area...But if for you make an informed decision, you need to go and see for yourself. Do not rent or hold a unit sight unseen.

the thing with the cars?? Yeah, don't put much stock in that either...you can't gauge an area by what people are driving. I wouldn't consider a 25k car a 'higher end' car and you find all types of cars in high crime areas as well as low crime areas.

You might be able to do a crime search on the local law enforcement website...call them and see if they have such a thing. We do and it's very useful when looking at a new area because not all crimes hit the news media.
Thank you! My dad drives a car he's had for 10 years and it's not super nice, but he bought my mom a new SUV. I do see a few other "older, more beat up" cars in my neighborhood but that's usually in families with
Multiple cars. Most the cars where I live I would say people drop at minimum 20k.

Thanks! Maybe when I am in the area I can also stop by the local office and see if they have any information on the area and crime.

I will not be renting anything unseen. I am planning to make my second trip out there and for some places this will be the second time seeing the complexes.
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:12 AM
 
535 posts, read 224,940 times
Reputation: 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoMeO View Post
I lived in apartments where they got horrible ratings, but it was not the case for me. So i think some of them are spoiled complainers that want more than what you can expect in an apartment/ or horrible renters that have screwed up their apartment and when the landlord caught them, they got mad.

So one thing to look for - check it out for yourself. The only way to make sense out of any of these comments about an apartment is check to see if many many reviews write the same kind of thing.

You could be brave and ask the potential landlord, that you read some reviews, and it said ______. Can you explain why? For example, a bunch of renters for the apartment I am in complained that rent got raised 400%. I asked about this. The lady said that it is because each person gets a month free. They spread it over a year. So then when their rent gets raised the 2nd year, it is based on the original - not the comped rate - and they THINK it is 400% but it is not. When i heard that, i knew that is why they fooled themself and are now complaining for nothing. the rent was NOT raised 400% but they based it on the wrong criteria.

So, just ask the landlord to clarify about these comments, and maybe you will get an answer and determine whether the comments are disgrunted ex-renters or what. See for yourself, if the complaints are about cleanliness or whatever...

also you can ask people that are leaving the building how they like it or not.
Thank you! I was wondering that too or if sometimes they are coming from family homes and are just not use to adjusting to apartment living. Our good family friends came from a townhome they owned to a first floor apartment and they said it was a big adjusted with sounds and having people above them. Sometimes I wonder if the bad comments and the good are written by the same few people. It's hard to tell and easy to make up new usernames for reviews.
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