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How to Decode Apartment Listings

(and Uncover Hidden Red Flags)

By Sewmini James Published about a month ago 3 min read
How to Decode Apartment Listings
Photo by Point3D Commercial Imaging Ltd. on Unsplash

Finding the perfect apartment can be a challenging task for many, especially when navigating many listings and advertisements that promise more than what they actually deliver. Whether you are seeking a luxury apartment or one that is budget-friendly understanding how to decode apartment listings and spot potential red flags is essential. This guide will provide you with valuable tips and insights to help you make an informed decision and avoid common pitfalls.

Understanding the Basics of Apartment Listings

Apartment listings are usually filled with various words and phrases that are designed to attract more potential tenants. To make an informed decision, it’s important to understand what these terms mean and what they might be concealing.

Common Terms and Their Meanings

Cosy: Often used to describe an apartment with a small space.

Charming: Typically means that the property or apartment is old and often could subtly mean that there might be repairs needed.

Up-and-coming neighbourhood: This could mean that the area is still in development, which can be exciting but also could mean that the amenities you are looking for might not be there.

Partial view: Implies that the view is obstructed in some way, which might not be immediately obvious from photos.

Garden level: Often means that the apartment is in the basement.

Reading Between the Lines

When reading apartment listings, it is crucial to read between the lines. The absence of details about certain aspects can be just as telling as what is included.

No photos of the interior: This may be suggestive of poor interior condition.

Flexible move-in date: This might mean that the apartment has not been moved into the market.

Low price: If the rent seems too good to be true, it likely is. Research the average rental prices in the area to ensure you're not being misled.

Spotting Red Flags in Apartment Listings

Red flags are warning signs that indicate potential issues with an apartment or landlord. Here are some common red flags to watch out for:

Lack of Clear Contact Information

If the listing doesn’t give a clear contact number for the landlord or apartment manager, chances are this place might be a scam. Legitimate listings will always include reliable contact details. Some of the best apartments in Sri Lanka always list multiple contact numbers and even email addresses to make sure that the potential buyer has enough means to contact them.

Request for Personal Information Upfront

Beware of listings that ask for personal information or payment before you have even seen the apartment. Scammers often use this tactic to steal personal data or money.

Vague or Inconsistent Information

Listings with vague information or inconsistent data can be a red flag. For example, if the dimensions listed per room seem implausible with the total square footage, and the photos don’t match the descriptions, proceed with caution. Some images may contain various watermarks which could indicate that they were taken off the internet.

Overly Pushy Landlords

If a landlord is pressuring you to make a quick decision or sign a lease without adequate time to review it, this is a significant red flag. A reputable landlord will allow you the time needed to make an informed decision. No one can pressure you into deciding about a big investment like an apartment. Try to use reputable companies, such as Prime Residencies, to purchase and rent your apartment.

Poor Maintenance and Cleanliness

Photos of poorly maintained properties or reports of ongoing maintenance issues are major red flags. Look for signs of neglect such as peeling paint, broken fixtures, or unclean common areas. Some fraudulent landlords try to cover up cracks and broken areas with a fresh coat of paint for minimum repairs. Always have your eyes open for such things, never be afraid to question them and call them out. 

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    SJWritten by Sewmini James

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