1. Make sure everything works — the faucets, appliances, air conditioning, toilets, door locks and electrical outlets.
2. Try to visit the apartment at different times of the day to get a feel for what the neighborhood is like.
3. Be assertive during the search. Verify that you are a student and, ultimately, prove that you will not cause any problems for the landlord. Get a letter of reference from a previous landlord or employer if possible.
4. After a few days of living on a garden-level, you will be an owner of earplugs and a watchdog. As convenient as they are, garden-level apartments are noisy and more prone to crime.
5. Do thorough research and make use of websites like craigslist.com, apartable.com and renthop.com. Don’t forget Facebook — your friends or real estate agents might be posting listings.
6. Talk to people at local eateries, libraries and in the building. Get a feel for the culture, offerings and safety of the neighborhood. Nearby laundromats, post offices and grocery stores are must-haves.
7. Test out the commute to work or school before you sign the lease. Factor in the extra expense of your MetroCard and if it would be worth it for you to buy an unlimited card.
8. Ask where to put the trash and if it is above, next to or under your apartment. Odors are also important to consider.
9. Meet the landlord, make a good impression and be sure this is where you want to live.