Let’s be honest — paying rent is painful if you don’t feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. If you don’t know what to look for when renting an apartment, you could be forking over your hard earned money for the bare minimum.

Washington, D.C. is one of the most expensive cities in the United States; the surrounding regions also see slightly inflated living costs as well. This is likely due to the high number of commuters who opt to live slightly farther from work to save on housing.

If you’re contemplating a move to the D.C. suburbs there are plenty of apartment communities to consider. What differentiates the most desirable from the sub-par is usually one of two factors: commitment to excellence and the best apartment amenities available.

What Is The Purpose Of Amenities?

Apartment communities provide amenities to improve residents’ quality of life. On-site amenities will usually provide a convenience that saves you time or money (or both!). In short, the best apartment amenities provide value by making your life easier.

Whether you’re looking for apartments with a washer and dryer in unit or a community with a pool, it’s important to prioritize which amenities are important to you and what you’ll use most often. There will rarely be an apartment community that checks every box on your wish list, but by prioritizing the list you can ensure you find a community that has amenities compatible with your lifestyle.

What To Look For When Renting An Apartment

As you start your apartment search, you’ll want to brainstorm a list of ideal amenities your new home will have. Do you want a microwave? Will you need parking? What about a pet-friendly community for your furry friend?

There are three main categories to consider when gauging the value of an apartment’s amenities: the unit, the community, and the neighborhood.

Unit Amenities

If you’re wondering what to look for when renting an apartment, start with what’s inside the unit. These amenities will be features that you use every day and are bonuses outside of the basics like the number of bedrooms and overall square footage.

Honestly, this should be the first round of considerations as you start your apartment search.

  • Dishwasher: You’ll never have to hand wash a dish again! This amenity can save you the headache of doing chores after a long day and eliminate the need for a drying rack, which will free up valuable counter space.
  • Washer and dryer: Apartments with a washer and dryer in the unit add a convenience factor. Easily clean your clothes without having to lug your laundry in and out of your apartment.
  • Furnished apartment: Don’t worry about the hassle of moving your furniture. Many apartments can come completely furnished.
  • Pet-friendly: Pets are family, so finding an apartment that welcomes your cat or dog is top-of-mind for pet owners.
  • Free utilities: This amenity is a huge selling point. The cost of gas, electricity, and water are all included in your monthly rent — no matter how long your showers are!
  • Granite countertops: This luxurious feature makes your kitchen look modern and polished.
  • Window coverings: With blinds or shades included, the sunrise won’t wake you early on the weekends! Just make sure to set an alarm for work on weekdays.
  • Air conditioning: Stay cool during warmer months and keep your bedroom a comfortable temperature while you sleep. With free utilities, you won’t have to sweat your electricity bill at the end of the month.
  • Garbage disposal: Get rid of food scraps easily and avoid the risk of clogging your pipes.
  • Microwave: It sounds minor, but having a built-in microwave will make your apartment look finished and free up counter space.
  • Walk-In Closets: Keep your bedroom clutter-free with a closet that fits your entire wardrobe and has room to store other odds and ends.

Community Amenities

These amenities will determine how much time you spend at your apartment community outside of your individual unit. Are the facilities conducive to community-building? Are there events that foster an inclusive environment?

After you take a tour of your potential apartment unit, wander around and check out the common areas. The best property management companies will offer plenty of community amenities.

  • On-site management: Property management staff close by to answer all your questions.
  • 24-hour emergency maintenance: Round-the-clock service in case something goes wrong.
  • Common area WiFi: Surf the web or stream your favorite show in a relaxing community living space.
  • Business center: Work remotely or study in a quiet area with desks and printers. You’ll immediately feel productive.
  • Resident lounge: Chat with friends, host a game night, or meet your neighbors in a casual community space.
  • Complimentary coffee bar: Fuel for the day…for free!
  • Controlled access:Feel comfortable in a controlled access building.
  • Fitness center: Get your sweat on with cardio, weight lifting, or yoga in the on-site gym.
  • Pool: Take a dip in a crystal clear outdoor pool or simply relax poolside on a summer afternoon.
  • Parking: Never worry about where you’ll have to leave your car. Some apartment communities might even have covered parking to protect your vehicle.
  • Grilling stations: Bond over burgers and vegetable skewers at complimentary grilling stations.
  • Guest suites: If you have company in town, but not enough space to host all your loved ones, a guest suite offers on-site accommodations for them. More time together, less time driving to and from hotels.
  • On-site dry cleaners: Show up to work looking sharp with the convenience of dry cleaners at your apartment community.
  • On-site grocery store: You’ll never have to worry about lugging heavy grocery bags far distances with a marketplace just a few steps away.
  • Community garden: Show your green thumb and bond with your neighbors by tending to the community garden.
  • Complimentary DVD rentals: See the latest box office releases for less with free DVD rentals.
  • Dog park: Let your furry friend romp and play in your apartment’s dog park.
  • Picnic area: After cooking, enjoy your meal hot off the grill at the picnic tables.
  • Bike share: Go green and skip rush hour by taking advantage of your community’s bike share program.
  • Recycling program: Reduce, reuse, recycle! Green living has never been so easy.

Neighborhood Amenities

The characteristics of your neighborhood are an amenity in and of themselves. What surrounds your apartment community should be the final consideration in your apartment hunting process.

You might require a certain level of walkability if you don’t own a vehicle, or want great dining options if you like to try new foods (or just don’t always feel like cooking). Whatever your preferences, take a look at what’s nearby when you narrow down your list of apartment options.

  • Convenience to major roadways: Being able to hop right on the highway can save lots of time and gas money.
  • Accessible public transportation: No vehicle? Don’t feel like driving? Make your commute a breeze with nearby public transportation.
  • Nearby supermarkets: Don’t worry about forgetting anything at the store. With a grocery store nearby, you’ll be able to pick up anything you need without a lot of hassle.
  • Coffee shops: If you want to change up your surroundings, visit a local coffee shop. With this close by neighborhood staple, it’ll feel like an extension of your apartment.
  • Restaurants: Quickly pick up takeout orders after a long day at work or meet up with friends for a meal without sitting in traffic.
  • Trails and bike paths: Enjoy the fresh outdoors and see what your neighborhood has to offer.

Once you’ve nailed down what you’re looking for from your new apartment community, you can use the ultimate first apartment checklist to make sure you have all the items you’ll need to make your new space feel homey!

Southern Management Communities Have The Best Apartment Amenities

Once you make your personal list of apartment must-haves, you can start your apartment search. Many people wonder how to find a place to rent. Conceptualizing what exactly you want and need will help jumpstart the process.

If you want to expedite your research — start with Southern Management’s communities. Browse our 75+ apartment communities, narrow down the area you want to live in, and check out each community’s unique amenities.

If one of our communities catches your eye, attend one of our open house events or contact us to speak with a team member. We’d be happy to answer any questions about apartment amenities, features, and pricing!

When you see our commitment to resident care for yourself, you’ll understand why Southern Management invests so much in making sure our communities’ amenities are top-of-the-line.

Contact us to learn more!