How to search for an apartment in the very center of the city? What to focus on when browsing the Internet? What are the biggest advantages of a city center flat and will it be a place for you?
An apartment in the heart of the city has numerous advantages. It’s easy to commute and delivers plenty of possibilities and attractions. What’s more, all the city amenities are just a few steps away. But we’re all different and we’ve different needs so the flat we’ll rent has to be tailored to one’s particular lifestyle. Having all this in mind, how to find the perfect one for you?
Well-located is quite a common slogan in all rental ads, but… what does it actually mean? Is it just the proximity to all city attractions? For a short-term tourist this could be an advantage, but a long-term tenant might not be pleased to live in the most crowded part of the city.
What’ll be a convenient location for you depends mainly on your lifestyle and daily needs.
- You have to get to work or university every single day.
If so, one within walking distance will be the most convenient. You’ll save both time and money. If the place is out of the city center, look for the apartment next to a bus or tram stop. Cities like Katowice are just perfect to commute by public means of transport as you can reach almost every place in the city by bus or tram.
- You’re a party person.
You often work from home and you attend your classes just twice a week. But a lunch out is an everyday must! In this case you’ll like to stay as close to all the food and party places as possible. If so, better not to search for offers on the most vibrant streets of the city. Such places are great for a party, but not to live long-term.
A street nearby will be much quieter (and cheaper), but still close enough. For information search Facebook groups and/or ask the locals. They’ll advise you way better than any tourist guide.
- You cannot live without a car.
Well, here the main problem will be a parking spot. Searching for a free spot every single evening after going home can be frustrating. And we all know it’s a city center issue.
Buildings in the city center rarely have dedicated parking spots, and many streets are only paid parking. If so, ask in the city hall about parking permits for city residents. In many cities they can park for free. In Katowice, for example, as a resident with permanent residency, you can get the citizen parking card and you can park anywhere in the parking zone for 50 PLN per quarter.
- You’ve got your own particular needs.
A convenient location can mean different things for all of us. Sometimes, you search for something personal like living close to your favorite grocery store or next to the farmer’s market. If you have a kid, you’ll probably search for a park nearby for everyday walks. Also, if you have a dog, you’d like to have a convenient place to walk your dog early in the morning.
Adapted To Your Needs
Location on the map is one thing, but the building itself and all its features are equally important. Have you found an apartment you like? Don’t forget about the following aspects:
- What side of the world do the windows face?
A sun-bathed apartment looks stunning, but it won’t necessarily please someone who dislikes the heat to have the blinds down all day long. An exposure to sun South-facing or North-facing becomes especially important if the apartment is on a high floor and there’s no greenery around.
- Front or courtyard?
That’s a really important issue we often forget to ask before renting. A first-floor apartment facing a crowded street won’t encourage you to open the windows wide on a hot day. But, a courtyard-facing apartment in the same building can be already calm and quiet. Make sure there’s no tram stop directly below your bedroom windows. Check the street on Google Street View to see how the traffic is throughout the day.
- Stairs or elevator?
An elevator is unlikely in old buildings. If you rent an apartment in a historical part of the city, you’ll probably have to climb stairs up to your flat. It’ll be good for your health, but an everyday workout carrying a bike or baby carriage up and down can be too much. If the apartment is on a higher floor, ask for a possibility to store your stuff somewhere on the first floor.
- Storage space
Even if your apartment will be big and spacious there are things you don’t want to keep there. These can be the above-mentioned bike or baby carriage, but also things you don’t need to use every day like your suitcases or bigger boxes. Such stuff can be stored in a basement or an external storage space. Ask your landlord for such a space in advance.
Feeling safe is one of the most important things when it comes to our living spaces. Especially in a big city where you’ll meet thousands of people every day and it’s impossible to have control of all situations.
Remember to ask your potential landlord about:
- alarm and monitoring systems
If your landlord owns the entire building he’s probably taken care to secure it properly. Video surveillance in the staircase, common areas, and main entrance will certainly minimize suspicious behavior. Be sure to ask about a possible alarm or notification system in case of an emergency situation.
- main entrance
Who’s allowed to enter the building? Does the main entrance close automatically? Does it open with a key or a code? Does your apartment have an intercom? We know it’s not a fortress, but basic protections are absolutely necessary.
- common spaces
Common areas are all the spaces where not only you, but also your neighbors have access. This will include the staircase, of course, but also the courtyard where waste containers are often located. Make sure that the access to this place isn’t open so you won’t be surprised by uninvited guests in the late evening hours.
Also, ask your landlord about your flat entrance access. Does it have a private corridor? The fewer people who share the same private space, the stronger community you create. And we all know that there’s no better security system than a watchful neighbor.
That Particular One
Your apartment is like your best friend: you see it for the very first time and you already know you’re gonna love it. Sometimes you enter the space and you feel this is IT! And, without any doubt, city center apartments have their own unique charm. High ceilings, big windows, restored wooden floors, and original wall moldings are something you’ll only find in a historical building. That’s why we love them so much too.
Fully-restored properties have the same standards as newly built ones, so you don’t have to worry about the comforts or amenities. That city center vibe is something unique. The rest is just a matter of finding the proper ad.