In the past, as a renter while away at school and after graduation, I was certainly willing to compromise on certain things, but there was not much in the way of wiggle room when it came to some of my top amenity requirements.

Not only were some of those amenities great due to convenience factors, but they also had the savings adding up.  In fact, some of my top rental amenities allowed me to save hundreds of dollars each year.

Paid Utilities

Whether or not an apartment comes with paid utilities may depend heavily upon the area in which it’s located and the particular landlord.  In some of the areas in which I have lived, it’s not uncommon to find certain paid utilities that accompany a rental.  I’ve been spoiled in this aspect over the years.

In my last rental, I received free water/sewer service, trash service, and heat (which in my area’s typically harsh winters can mean significant savings).  These free utilities added up to hundreds of dollars in college savings each year.

Free Parking

In certain rural communities or small towns, free parking might not seem like a big deal.  In fact, this amenity might be expected in some places.  However, in many urban areas, getting a parking spot can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars (and plenty of time and trouble) each year.

Pet-friendly

Frankly, I’ve been amazed at how many landlords are opposed to having cats in their rentals.  I’ve come across multiple “no-pet” listings or places that charge significantly for a pet, and I have even encountered two landlords who have stated outright that they’ve “had bad experiences with cats.”  And the costs that come with having to pay extra pet fees with certain apartments can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a rental.  Therefore, having a small cat, I tend to look for places without such costs or where these expenses are minimal or refundable.

Security

Security is an important rental amenity not only for personal safety but for financial safety as well.  A recent rental I looked at offered electronic door codes to enter the building, but a mail slot in the door where the mail — mixed with another tenant’s — would fall in a common area that was linked to offices in the same building.

While personally, I felt that I would be physically safe in this location, I found the thought of personal and financial mailings being dumped on the floor of a common area very disturbing in this day and age.

Therefore, finding an apartment that pairs both physical and personal security is certainly high on my list of amenities.

Disclaimer: The author is not a licensed financial or real estate professional.  The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or real estate advice.  Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.