When Apartment Reviews Don’t Tell the Whole Story: How to Spot a Dud

When Apartment Reviews Don’t Tell the Whole Story: How to Spot a DudIf you’ve visited any review website—whether for movies, restaurants, or plumbers—you know that the responses from patrons and customers can be an unusual mix. The same is true of apartment reviews sites.

Apartment reviews sites like RentersVoice.com can be a real boon during the apartment-hunting process. Not only can you find out which apartments are in the area, but you can read apartment reviews from current tenants, former renters, or independent reviewers, all of whom are eager to offer up their opinions about the property. Getting the opinions of real renters can be invaluable to someone looking for more than the cheery, pre-packaged descriptions that are on apartments’ websites. Using apartment reviews can help you narrow down your options and ultimately choose the apartment that is right for you.

But sometimes apartment reviews can do more harm than good. You might run into an overly angry renter, an apartment employee disguised as a reviewer, or even a competitor writing a false review in order to slander the property in question. Then again, all apartments get a bad apartment review once in a while. How can you tell the difference? Here is our handy guide to evaluating apartment reviews. Ask these questions as you read so you can steer clear of the useless ones and find the best apartment faster.

How recently was the review written?

When evaluating apartment reviews, you’ll want to look at the most recently-written reviews first. A review from two years ago might provide lots of useful information, but it might also reference outdated policies or even staff members who are no longer at the apartments. Management, employees, and rules can change at apartments, so it’s best to take the recent reviews more seriously. Just like bad apartments can reform, good apartments can change for the worse.

When Apartment Reviews Don’t Tell the Whole Story: How to Spot a Dud 2Is the reviewer specific?

Take a look at exactly what the reviewer has to say about the apartment. Dishonest reviews are often short on details about the positives or negatives of a given property.

What is the ratio of good reviews to bad reviews?

If an apartment property has nine glowing apartment reviews for every one horrible review, look carefully at the opinions of the naysayers. Are their complaints reasonable? Are these issues something you can ask management about? Are their grievances laid out in detail, or is the review just a short rant? Either way, it can help to file away the negative reviews and address those concerns with the leasing agent or landlord if you tour the property.

How long has the tenant lived there?

If the review is written by a renter who has been there only a few weeks, you might want to pass it up in favor of a review from a more seasoned renter. Once the move-in perks wear off, the realities of apartment life really set in, and you’ll be able to learn what problems (or benefits!) you’ll run into over the course of your stay.


What are your tips for finding an apartment using apartment reviews? Find Renter’s Voice on Facebook and Twitter and let us know.

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