Where to Rent Quiz—What Kind of Rental Space is Right for You?
Figuring out where to rent and what sort of space you want to live in can be a daunting task. What's the difference between living in a house and a high-rise? How does an apartment compare to a townhome? Before you sign a lease, you should ask yourself some questions to make sure you know what you want. We've put together this short quiz to help you figure out what kind of rental space best suits your needs and preferences.
1) How much space do you need?
Think about how much furniture you have, any of your projects or hobbies that require a work area, and how you feel about large or small spaces in general.
- I'm flexible on space. Big or small, it doesn't matter as long as it fits me.
- I don't mind smaller spaces. I think they're cozy.
- I'd like a moderately sized space with room for a couple pieces of furniture and storage for my stuff.
- I need room to spread out. I want room for all my furniture, storage space, and possibly a work area.
2) What level of privacy are you looking for?
Do you cherish your "me-time"? Prefer to see your neighbors, but never hear them? Or do you like to make friends with the entire building?
- Privacy is overrated. I don't mind overhearing the neighbors' party every once in a while, as long as I'm invited!
- Very private. I prefer having well-insulated walls and only a passing acquaintance with neighbors.
- Somewhat private. I can handle sharing walls and stairways as long as there's nobody stomping around on the floor above me.
- Private, under my own personal conditions. I like having my space to myself, but I want the option to invite over whomever I want, whenever I want.
3) What kind of yard does your ideal space have?
Some people like the feel of grass between their toes, while others don't want to have to worry about yard work.
- I wouldn't mind having a yard, but I can live without one. Either way, I don't want to have to maintain it.
- I prefer my lawn to be made out of concrete.
- A small, private yard would be nice, but I am not a fan of yard work.
- I want a yard, and I don't mind maintaining it. It would be worth it to have a garden, barbecue area, or space for an outdoor get-together.
4) What would you like to see when you look out your window?
For a lot of renters, the view outside their space is just as important as the view inside.
- A courtyard, lawn, or street would be great, but it's OK if I'm facing a building wall or another window, too.
- A beautiful cityscape spread out before me.
- A yard and a residential street. I don't mind if the view is only from the front and the back of my space.
- A front and back yard, perhaps with a garden space. I'd prefer windows on all sides of my space.
5) What are your must-have amenities?
Think of them as perks or extras. Or, perhaps you think of them as necessities.
- I'd like to have appliances like a refrigerator and stove, with the possibility of a washer and dryer and dishwasher for more rent money.
- I want everything: access to a shared washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a gym, and possibly even a pool.
- Appliances, in-unit laundry, and a dishwasher are musts. Shared community amenities like pools or play areas for kids would also be nice.
- My own refrigeratior and stove are absolute mandatories, and I also need a washer and dryer included in my rent.
6) How do you feel about maintenance and repairs?
Are you handy with a hammer or do you avoid the toolbox at all costs?
- I can make very minor repairs myself, but I'd like to be able to call on a maintenance worker when it's necessary. I don't mind if I have to wait a few days before they arrive.
- I want an on-site management company who will send a maintenance worker to my unit soon after I call them.
- I don't want to worry about maintenance at all. I would prefer a committee like a homeowners' association take care of all that for me.
- I'm pretty handy. I can perform some repairs myself, but I'd like to have a landlord who cares enough about the property to hire good maintenance workers when there's a serious repair or upkeep issue.
7) And finally, what level of security should your space have?
You can never be too careful, but some kinds of rental spaces have more sophisticated security options than others.
- A deadbolt lock on the exterior and interior doors should be fine.
- I want a high level of security. I'd like all building guests to register with a doorman, as well as the ability to check a closed-circuit camera that films the entrance.
- I'd like the option of a home security system and neighbors who keep an eye out for suspicious activities.
- In addition to home security options like alarm systems and reinforced doors, I'd like to have a neighborhood watch or community safety program.
Time to Tally Up Your Score
Ok, that's it! Take a look at your answers. Which letter did you choose most often?
If You Answered Mostly As...
You may want to look at renting an apartment. Apartment units vary widely between listings, but generally speaking, they consist of a single unit within a larger building. You'll be living in close proximity with others who may or may not be strangers and that means things like noise level, privacy, and security are mostly out of your hands. However, apartments are usually less expensive and more widely available, so search wisely to find one with many of the features and amenities you want.
If You Answered Mostly B...
You've described high-rise living. High-rise apartments are located in tall residential or mixed-use buildings. They often include features like fitness centers, swimming pools, 24-hour maintenance, door service, and a high level of security. And if privacy is important to you, they're also a good option. Though many people may live in a high-rise, the units often have thick walls and carpets to insulate them from hallway sounds.
There's a drawback to all that convenience, though. Renting a high-rise is sometimes expensive because of its broad range of amenities and proximity to the city.
If You Answered Mostly C...
Consider renting a townhome. Townhomes are individual units, usually two or more stories in height, laid out in a row formation with shared walls. This makes for a semi-private living situation, where townhome dwellers have their own individual spaces, yet may sometimes hear one another through walls.
Many townhomes feature small yards for individual use, as well as community amenities like swimming pools, courtyards, or playgrounds. Often, the homeowners association will deal with most, if not all, maintenance issues.
If You Answered Mostly D...
Think about renting a house in a residential neighborhood. Chances are, a house will offer more space for your furniture and belongings. Often, you'll have access to extra storage, like a basement or attic. You may have a yard and the opportunity to plant a garden or have an outdoor gathering in fair weather.
The pace of life in many residential neighborhoods with freestanding houses tends to be quieter, with less street noise and nightlife nearby. However, you may have to give up the convenience of living close to work. And houses are often more expensive, so you might have to split the rent between friends.
Before You Sign That Lease...
That piece of paper is a binding contract, so it's important to realize that this is actually an important decision. Prepare yourself accordingly. Check out our Renting 101 guide on How to Negotiate a Lower Rent for information on getting a good deal, and read up about How to Spot Scams to avoid being the target of rental fraud. Lastly, take a look at our Inspecting an Apartment article for details on spotting hidden safety hazards.
Make the Choice to Protect Your Place
Whatever kind of space you choose to rent, renter's insurance is a smart and proactive way to protect your stuff. Accidents happen. Enter your new zip code in our Common and Costly Claims tool to see for yourself.
Whether it's protection from burglary, bursting pipes, or just plain bad luck, Renter's Insurance from Allstate just makes sense. Especially when it averages just $17 a month.*
Never insured anything before? Your local Allstate agent can break it down for you. You can also call us at 1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828) or get a no obligation quote online in minutes.
Published: September 2012