Savvy Tenant – Look Twice

“He was so different!  Like night…

…and day!”

You’ve heard the cliche right?

The thing about cliches is they are overused because of the truism at the heart of them.  Day is completely different from night.

Day can also make things appear different than they do at night.  And you know what else?  Sometimes things look entirely different on the weekends, too.

Of course I am talking about that perfect little place to rent.  Again.  You’ve seen it.  You asked for the lease and read it thoroughly, and you can live with it.  The landlord seems friendly and cooperative.  All systems are go.

Unless you have only looked at the place once.

Hopefully you saw it in the daylight when it was empty and were able to investigate every nook and cranny.  However, if this was not the case, and you saw it in the evening or at night with furniture still in it (that will be leaving), then you should make arrangements to see it again.

I learned this little tidbit from my mother.

The first apartment she and my dad moved into after they were married they looked at during the evening or nighttime hours, when the lighting was dim. The place seemed to be exactly what they needed. They agreed to take it.

The people who owned the building were living in the unit my parents agreed to take. My parents soon learned that the landlord apparently had the nasty habit of moving from floor to floor when units were vacated.  They left behind their filth for the new tenant to clean, while they moved onto the floor that a recently-departed tenant had thoroughly cleaned.

My mother never looked at another place at night. The fact that she still remembers how horrible the place was to clean 53 years later…well…

Even if you saw your place in the light of day and are aware of what might be entailed at move-in, it is still wise to make sure you have checked out the neighborhood as well. Your landlord has no control over who your neighbors are or how loud they party on a Friday night. If you saw your apartment during working hours, you should be wondering: what are evenings like?  Weekends?  We have one unit that is across the street from a football stadium for the local high school.  I live about half a mile away and still see the field lights and hear the roar of the crowd.  On certain nights I can hear play-by-play.  I couldn’t live in the house we rent out.  Other people don’t mind so much.

So look twice.  Different times of day, different days of the week.  Be thorough.  And if noticing the details isn’t your strongest suit, take a friend to help.  Sometimes a pair of eyes that aren’t in love see things a little more clearly. 🙂



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