Apartment checklist

What questions should I ask when searching for the ideal apartment?
The one’s I could think of are:

  1. How much is the rent?
  2. How far is it from …?
    a) my work
    b) a mall
    c) transport/subway
  3. How big is it?
  4. How many rooms does it have?
  5. How noisy is it?
  6. Is it well maintained?
  7. Are people sociable/forward/unfiendly in the neighborhood?
  8. Does it have a telephone/ADSL connection?
  9. Does it have air conditioning?
  10. How safe is it?

What have I left out?

[quote=“AAF”]What questions should I ask when searching for the ideal apartment?
The one’s I could think of are:

  1. How much is the rent?
  2. How far is it from …?
    a) my work
    b) a mall
    c) transport/subway
  3. How big is it?
  4. How many rooms does it have?
  5. How noisy is it?
  6. Is it well maintained?
  7. Are people sociable/forward/unfiendly in the neighborhood?
  8. Does it have a telephone/ADSL connection?
  9. Does it have air conditioning?
  10. How safe is it?

What have I left out?[/quote]
I doubt you get a meaningful or honest answer to question 5. to 7. and 10., so better go and see / listen for yourself.
Stay away from places that have those through-the-window aircons in the bedroom if the apartment is close to a busy road.

Other questions you may want to ask:

  • How much is the management fee?
  • Who pays water/gas/electricity/CATV?
  • Any other (hidden) fees that the tenant has to pay?
  • Is the apartment (fully) furnished?
  • Any facilities in the building?
  • Garbage collection?
  • Pets allowed? (if you have any)
  1. Water pressure?
  2. Bugs?

What is the distance to the nearest pub?

Is it a commercial building being used for residences. The electrity is MUCH MUCH higher in a commercial building. They will probably not tell you the truth on this so get a friend to inquire at security. Still not foolproof but basically, be careful. You might also note if any of the residents advertise a business on any of the floors above the ground floor.
I got burned on this before and ended up paying 6-8k for two months in the summer for an 8 ping apartment. My new 3 bedroom 44 ping costs less.

[quote=“Rascal”]
I doubt you get a meaningful or honest answer to question 5. to 7. and 10., so better go and see / listen for yourself.
[/quote]You want to check this at the times of day you care about. My own building is pretty quiet during the day (like when my wife went to look at the apartment…) but it’s a zoo after 6pm.

[quote=“Rascal”]

  • Pets allowed? (if you have any)[/quote]This is a good question whether you have pets or not, as it’s closely connected to the noise question. A great number of dog owners abandon them for hours or days at a time and just let the neighbors deal with the howling.

You can sort out the bugs thing by the proximity of restaurants, grocery stores, and other food stores. If they are poorly maintained and you are not in a high-rise, there’s a good chance that the vermin will come to your place to sleep (or run around) after having their meals. If it’s the average greasy breakfast shop, I almost guarantee that you’re going to have roaches and, more often that not, rats as well.

Who owns it? Does that person agree to you letting it out?

[EDIT: “you” here meaning the person who is letting it to you and who says he owns it. See a recent property tax receipt. Some of my previous landlords have volunteered those as a matter of course.]

It may sound silly that one would need to check this for a residential building, but make sure there isn’t any sort of nightclub/KTV in the basement or on the ground floor. Years ago, one month after I moved into a somewhat upscale apartment building near Sogo in Taichung, some well connected gangster types opened a very loud nightclub in the basement. I lived on the 10th floor. It sounded and felt like they were in the unit just below me on the 9th floor. NOBODY in that building got a wink of sleep between 11 pm and 6 am for half a year. Those fuckers were very difficult to get rid of.

So the simple answer I guess is, take someone with you that knows the area and that can speak the local language, right?
It seems like it might not be as easy as I thought to find a good place once I get everything sorted to move out to Taiwan, but hey, could be worse I guess and roaches tastes ok as long as you roast 'em well enough :smiling_imp:

Check around the neighborhood to see how clean it is. Cleanups seem to be handled in part by volunteers (old people) in the neighborhood and the local village chief. Areas can vary even when they are close to each other.

And check out the exhaust fan over your stove. Make sure it is not a filthy mess or demand it be cleaned or replaced. And the fan in the bathroom. Does it go anywhere? Some just blow the moisture into the ceiling.

And your gas heater should be outside not in a balconey that has been closed in to make more room.

Check carefully how clean curtains and walls and such are. In other words, take some time to really inspect the place. Cracks and smudges and such can really get on your nerves once you move in and notice them everyday.

AND, if you are anywhere near open fields or farms make sure they don’t burn on a regular basis. I overlook the river in Muzha and have a fantastic view down it and over green fields and lush mountains but the asshole farmers just across the river burn their leaves for fertilizer almost every day. Occassionally they even burn their garbage. Fortunately aburning only lasts 10-15 minutes or I’d be over there with a shotgun.