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Real Estate Tips

How to Find a Secure Apartment

Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Find an apartment that has the amenities you need and that's safe and secure as well. 

You're moving to a new city, or you need a new place to call home. You need to find an apartment that's within your budget and has all of the amenities that you need. Ideally, it will be close to recreation and close to work as well. If you're lucky enough to find an apartment with everything you want, it needs to pass another test: the safety test. Is that ideal apartment secure?

Look At The Location 

When you're looking for a neighborhood full of the amenities you love, one of the best amenities you can have is safety. How do you know if the neighborhood is safe? 
  • Look at local crime rates; what's the scoop on that neighborhood? What are its trends over time? There are online crime reporting tools that can help you examine the crime rate by zip code.
  • Consider how you'll feel walking around the neighborhood in the daytime and at night. 
  • If you're taking transit, shopping, or going to the gym or other sports and recreation, are your routes to and from those amenities safe? 
  • Ask the apartment manager about the history of safety inside and outside the apartment. Who lives in the apartments around you? Have there been any break-ins recently? 

Keeping Your Property Safe 

Next, look at the building itself. Does it feel safe? You need to look for: 
  • Lighting and sight lines around pathways and entrances. Do you feel like you can see everything and everyone as you walk up to the building? 
  • Entrances and exits to the building. How do you get in? If there is a common entrance, do people often slip in without a key? If it's a gated community, does the gate close well? 
  • Is there vegetation around the units? If so, are there hiding places for people looking to break and enter? 
  • Is there a staff person on duty? Some larger buildings may have a security person.

Take a Look at the Unit 

Each unit has a different level of security depending on the interior and exterior features of that unit. When you're looking at an apartment, ask these questions:
  • Is the apartment on the ground floor or on a higher floor? Ground floor apartments are more likely to experience break-ins because they're easier to access.
  • Is there an alarm system in the unit? 
  • Does the door lock securely? Exterior doors should have a solid core so that they are difficult to kick in.
  • Is there a peephole? 
  • Is there a deadbolt? If so, take a look at the length and material of the bolt. A long steel deadbolt will help keep your apartment safe. According to Safe Wise, "Short bolts can easily be pried open with tools and blunt force. Check the length of the bolt that slides in and out of the door jamb to ensure it is at least one inch long."
  • Are the windows secure or easy to open? 

Apartments that are above ground level are more secure.

What About Your Vehicle?

Take a look at the parking facilities around the building as well. Will you need to park on the street? If not, what kind of parking facilities are available indoors? Look at how these parking areas are secured.

Flood and Fire Security 

You not only need to make sure that your unit is safe from other people, you also need to ensure that it's safe from floods, fires, and gas leaks. When you look at the building as a whole, ask these questions: 
  • Is there a sprinkler system? 
  • Are there fire alarms in the building? How often are they checked? 
  • Are there fire and carbon monoxide alarms in the unit? 
  • What measures does the building management have in place in case of a water leak or overland flooding?

Maintenance and Responsiveness 

If you decide to move into a specific apartment, you'll rely on yourself and your neighbors to keep the property safe. However, you'll also rely on the property manager. Take a look around the apartment and the apartment building. Does it look well-maintained? Ask questions about maintenance and repairs. Does the property manager respond in a timely manner? If you have security concerns, you'll want the manager to address them, and this is a good way to know just how responsive management will be in the future.

At Open for Homes, we're here to help you find the apartment that's right for you. Take a look at the blog at Open For Homes and learn more about today's housing market.