You know the feeling: euphoric from scoring the apartment you wanted, you're moving in, getting settled, and suddenly you realize: your cell phone doesn't get reception — your new home is a dead zone! Or, maybe you are finally falling into bed your first night in a new place, exhausted from the move, and just as you're drifting off your eyes snap open again: is that incessant banging coming from your radiator? And will it never go away despite the ministrations of several accredited plumbers?
My friend Lindsay keeps a list with her husband Nick for the next time they're apartment hunting. Whenever they have a complaint about their current place, they write down what to check for next time. Cell reception and radiator noise are on the list, as are street noise, noisy neighbors, ground-floor bike storage (so they don't have to lug their bikes up treacherously narrow stairs, window quality (for both drafts and noise issues), any materials that are difficult to clean (ie. special countertops or floor treatments), and a bunch more.
Of course, the realities of the market these days — and of real estate in general — mean that you're probably not going to be able to avoid every potential pitfall on your list. But if you know up front that your sofa won't fit in the stairs or elevator and you'll have to spend a few hundred bucks for someone to disassemble and reassemble it, it might shift the calculus of how much you're willing to concede on price, location, or other tradeoffs.
What do you wish you'd known before moving into your current home? What will you be sure to ask about next time?