What to look for when Renting a place in USA ? Dish Washer, Heat, Garage ?

In Living in US by KumarUpdated : 3 Comments

When I lived in my previous apartment, during winter we got a big fat electricity bill over $250 dollars. We were just shocked…the simple thing we missed when we rented that place we did not know the importance of having heat included in the monthly rental…we got such a huge bill just because “Heat was not included”… There are some things similar to this that are very important to know before you rent a place. Let me share my thoughts. You may read, How to find housing as a Student in USA

Importance of Heat, Garage, Dish Washer when renting a place ?

When you live in the Northern states of America, where snow fall is common or temperatures are very low, Heat and Garage are very important. Not just having these amenities is the issue, it is important to know how they are offered.
Heat Included ?  : You have specifically ask for if “Heat is included” or NOT. If heat is included, what it means is, you do not pay for the usage of heat to your apartment. If heat is NOT included, it will go to your electricity bill and you might end up like us paying huge sums of money for electricity. In cold weather states, you typically use Heat for about 6 to 8 months, you will be screwed with electricity bill if heat is not included. Make sure you check this before you rent the place.

Garage or indoor parking : Again, if you live in Northern states where you get snow, it is very important to have a Garage or indoor parking. If not, every morning when you have to go to work, you might have to clean the snow on the car or the car would be cold as hell… Not the fun thing to do first thing in morning on a cold snow day… Sometimes, Garage is not included in rent and you would have to pay extra for garage. Make sure you take garage and include that to rent to get a whole picture of the rental amount. Also, it is very important to have Garage if you live in city where  many use street parking. During snow, finding a  spot to park on street would be difficult…make sure you get a garage spot in the building…
Dish Washer : I remember being busy with exams and school stuff and not having time to clean dishes….This is  a preference, but I would like to have dish washer in the apartment. The reality is, at least single guys, have a hard time cleaning dishes…It is very convenient to have a dish washer because you can use all the dishes you want without thinking about washing them….If you are in School or busy professional, I would highly recommend to rent a place with dishwasher.

Air Conditioner: If you live in Southern states, most of the places have centralized air conditioners, but if you live in Northern states, you may not necessarily have an air conditioner or centralized A/C. The reality is, even if you live in northern states, you will need Air conditioner. In summer the peak temperatures goes up to 80 F and it can be unbearable if you do not have A/C. Make sure the place you rent have an Air conditioner even if you live in Northern states.

Dish TV : This was something very important back in the days when you used to only get International TV channels through dish TV…some apartment complexes are not situated properly with open space in particular direction for getting Dish TV international channels. Now-a-days, we just use internet to stream anything. But, if you want to use Dish TV, this is something to consider.

Can you think of any other things to consider before renting a place ?

Image Credit : http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44335000/jpg/_44335643_snow_car.jpg


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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Meenakshi

    Hi Kumar,
    If I am a PhD student who will be staying a minimum of 5 years … is it better to go for furnished apartments or unfurnished? I will be rooming with another girl from India so costs will be shared, the deal we are getting is $575-$595 for a 2 BR furnished and utilities included.
    Please Advise !! 😀

    1. administrator

      How often do you foresee yourself changing apartments? If you want to change it on a regular basis (say yearly), it’s better to go w/ furnished apartment (otherwise you would have to hire movers and packers to shift your furniture). The downside is that once you are living in a furnished apartment, you may want to move into only a furnished apartment as you don’t own any furniture.

      If you don’t plan to change it on a regular basis, having an unfurnished apartment may be cheaper in the long run. You can buy the stuff gradually on the need basis. As you will sharing it w/ another roommate, you may have to figure out how the finance and usage.

      Also, the price varies from city to city and neighborhood to neighborhood. You can go to craigslist to see what other apartments are available in that locality to see if you are getting a good deal.

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