In the past few years, I have moved quite regularly as an entrepreneur nomad. I realized that most of the time, when people want a new house/apartment, they base it on the first five seconds they walk into the place. They either love it or they don’t. If those five seconds were phenomenal, then it’s time to check if the price is affordable.
Here’s a list of non-obvious things that you may not check but one-way or another impacts your quality of everyday life while you live there.
1. The Shower
Most people just check if the water works properly when checking out the bathroom. However, one of the things you should check is how long does it take the water to become hot. A good shower experience can dramatically change your attitude during the day. Some places take a long time for the water to warm up, and you not only waste a lot of water at a time when water might be in deficit, you end up waiting cold and naked in the bathroom for longer when you are in need for that refreshing feeling.
Needless to say, how powerful the shower is should take a big part of your shower experience too. Showers that have nice massaging power is much better in getting you relaxed and refreshed than ones that just “get you wet.”
2. Placement of Light switches
When you check out a new home, make sure the light switches are placed intuitively in terms of daily activity flows. You don’t want to be maneuvering across the room in the dark looking for the switches. Nor do you want to turn off the light switch and walk through darkness to find your way out of the room.
If a room has two entrances, it should have two light switches. It also shouldn’t be at a spot where you need to “look around the corner” to find. The switch should be where you are, instead of you going to the light switch.
3. Cellphone reception and internet connectivity
This is a big thing that a lot of people don’t check enough. There are many apartments and houses that have terrible cellphone reception. You don’t want to live everyday of your life at home leaving your phone next to the window, or needing to walk outside the apartment just to have a regular phone conversation.
When you visit a potential home, walk around with your cellphone and check if you have healthy reception everywhere. You should need to go out just to stay connected.
4. Daytime Lighting
If possible, check if the house is positioned so that during the daytime, there is enough sunlight in the place. During the daytime, you don’t want to turn on the lights, but the quality of your activities will greatly be impact by the lighting around. That’s also why some libraries “feel” more productive than others.
Also, it’s good to have an understanding if the house is too hot in the morning or in the evening. I have been in places where half of the house is burning hot in the morning and the other half is just as hot during the evening. Unfortunately, since I was sharing the place with some hosts, I was not able to choose where I want to be when I want to.
5. The Manager/Landlord
The manager or landlord will greatly impact your experience while staying there. Is your manager flaky? Does he seem like he cares about the tenants? A bad manager can get you into a lot of trouble during times of emergencies, especially when something important breaks or if you have lost your keys.
One of my apartment managers in the past only responds a week after you try to get in touch with him because of his side business and bad smoking behaviors. Not only did he never fix anything that was broken in the apartment, it gave me a lot of problems when the garage door belt broke and I became immobile for an entire week.
The only way to figure this out is to evaluate your conversations with the manager and talk to other people who live there. If you are going to be living at a place for a couple years, it’s worth it to do your due diligence and knock on some potential neighbors’ doors to really figure out the ins and outs here.
More ideas from readers?
Can you think of anything else that is non-obvious but important to look for when finding a new place? Are there things in your place that annoys you a lot that you wished you checked for earlier? Please leave them in the comment section to discuss. We would all LOVE to hear about your experiences and learn from your insights.
Would you like Yu-kai Chou to work with your Organization?
If you are interested in working with Yu-kai Chou for a business project, workshop, speech or presentation, or licensing deal, please fill out the form below.
7 thoughts on “5 non-obvious things to check for your new home”
The neighborhood activity on a Saturday night. Had the misfortune of learning this the hard way. When the sun went down, my former neighborhood turned into the wild west.
Thanks. Haha, I highly suspect storage and closet are not as highly prioritized for guys compared to girls 🙂
Great post! I will pay more attention to Storage or closet, to see if it’s big enough to keep all my stuff. 🙂
Neighborhood is also important, since safety is the key!
some other things to consider:
furnace, makes sure it’s good and insulated. When are places going to switch to electric heaters that heat at use? I have a small one back home, and it works great.
Insulation. Check windows and ask about wall insulation. Depends on location, it really matters here on the north east.
Heat & A/C. Do they work? Have they been updated or are they still using radiators?
Great tips Joseph!
Most of these things I don’t use as much so it hasn’t annoyed me on a daily basis, but I’m sure it’s important for lots of people!
Another important thing to consider is noise. It’s easy to tell what noise would be like during the daytime since you’re probably visiting the place during the day, however, night time sound levels are important too. Especially late at night. So I suggest visiting the neighborhood at midnight or later to see what the noise levels are like.
For example, freeway noise: During the day you might not notice it, but at night when it’s more quite, freeway noise might be a nuisance. Especially since big rig drivers do lots of driving at night.
Hey Roy! Good to see you on my blog 🙂
Noise is definitely something important. I guess one way is to still talk to neighbors about it.
A lot of people pay attention to freeway or train/plane noise, but I guess those are huge things that you want to make sure you don’t want to miss 🙂