How to find a decent rental apartment: four tips

Looking for a rental property is a special kind of hell. Between relentless estate agents, painful cost:quality ratio and a priority list which seems impossible to tick all the boxes, it can be easy to lose your mind. These five tips will help you find a happy home, and keep your cool throughout the process…

1. Rent unfurnished
I would always encourage people to rent unfurnished properties.  When I moved to New York with a poster and an ashtray as the sum total of my furnishings, I moved into a rather stark unfurnished apartment.  It dawned on me only then that to furnish from scratch is quite a financial undertaking. But within a couple of years I was pretty much all set and most of those purchases have come back to London with me to form part of my collection of furniture. My ethos is to always buy well and you will be rewarded as you build a collection of things that you love and have a shared history with you.

2. Watch out for windows
As with purchasing, it is always good to look at the proportions of the rooms and the windows. If a room has good windows you can almost always make a great room to be in – it is much harder to make a good space when you have awkward windows or bad lighting.

3. Check the waterworks
It is easy to be taken in by the white walls and painted floorboards. But to a degree that is the sort of thing you can probably do yourself – what you can’t change are the electrics or the plumbing. I thoroughly recommend going around and turning all the taps on. It is always good to know what the water pressure is like and worth knowing if you can run a bath and wash up breakfast at the same time.

4. Look on the bright side
It is also worth checking out the lighting. While 5Amp plugs are a total bonus, make sure there are sockets in the right places for lamps and other electronics that can make really make the final touches to a room.

MORE: Be inspired by Rita’s first New York rental – and how she styled it – here.

ALSO: Picture above by The Selby – see his full feature on Rita’s New York apartment here.