01-30-08 - 3

Apartment search notes for myself. The little things to remember that you might forget.

A gas stove is crucial; a broiler is nice; a decent fume hood & vent is pretty important; a garbage disposal would be nice. Laundry in the building is a pretty big plus. Hard-wired smoke detectors are a disaster.

Quiet is important. Avoid street-side, especially first floor. Don't be adjacent to the building's main door or mail boxes - the mail boxes are surprisingly loud. Don't be adjacent to the laundry faccility, people will use it at all hours. Similarly don't be near the dumpster. Don't be adjacent to parking, especially if car head lights will shine in your windows. One thing you'd really like to test is how noisy people walking on the floor above you is, or you can avoid that by getting a top floor unit.

Insulation and heating. Those single unit gas heaters really suck, especially if there's no good air flow around the unit. Bottom floor units will have really cold floors, upper floor units will benefit from the neighbors' warmth.

A professional complex or management company is almost always a better landlord than an individual; they will follow all the laws, they will have a full time repair guy who will come quickly and fix anything, they will respond to complaints, etc.

Being south-facing the get lots of light is semi important to me.

In general the most important thing is what it's like to sleep there; good sleep is crucial, without it your whole life sucks. The second most important thing is location. Walking to bars & groceries is a big plus. The third most important is the kitchen because I love cooking. The least important is what the living rooms are like and what it looks like; these things make a big impression when you're touring apartments but don't actually matter too much, you can make do with whatever and can always decorate to hide problems.

Also for allergic people like me, the allergen character of a place is really important. I think that pretty much rules out old places. I love the architectural details and character of old buildings, but they are full of mystery allergen sources. In particular holes into the wall spaces are really bad, as are those gas room heater things that so many apartments in SF have. Carpet is really bad, especially the retarded places that have carpet in bathrooms or kitchens. Wood floors and tile and waterproof materials are much better. Curtains need to be washed often.

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