Karla News

Are Apartment Rating Services a Reliable Source?

Contact Management

Before moving into a new apartment community it’s really important to do your homework. Unless you’re truly familiar with an area, or know someone who is, it can be difficult to determine what kinds of things to ask about when researching a new apartment complex. Most developments will advertise what they are “required” to tell you about. They will offer potential residents the basics : square footage on units, utility information, price, and a host of other essential details.

In some cases, these developments will even offer you insight into what “kind” of community you’ll be moving into. But even this information could be used to mislead potential residents into signing leases. Luckily there are web sites on line that are designed specifically for real residents to offer their three cents about the communities they have lived in. But how reliable are these web sites? And are they truly a great resource for someone who is thinking of moving into a new apartment complex?

Subjective Opinions

One of the main problems with public opinion-based rating systems in the concept of Subjective Opinion. People look for different things when searching for a place to live. Thus, descriptions like : noisy, clean, secure are all words that can be represented in varying degrees. For example, a person who has moved from a bustling northern city may find that Atlantans’ view of “noisy” encompasses only the daily police or ambulance siren(s). For a person who is used to all sorts of noise, these sounds may only be mild interruptions, if that.

Additionally, people have differing standards of “clean.” Some people expect interiors and surrounding property to remain perfectly spotless at all times. Others may be tolerable of a “bit of debris” here or there. Furthermore, a person’s sense of safety may be entirely contingent upon an apartment complex’s security personnel. But for some, simply being located in a more remote suburban area may symbolize security. One resident submitting a review on apartmentratings.com warned potential residents of security issues based on the fact that she felt uncomfortable with the walking distance between her parked car and her apartment door. But a resident’s perception of how dangerous other individuals (or other residents) are will certainly vary from person to person.

See also  Renters Rights in Wisconsin

There are however, some concrete things to look for while perusing apartment ratings on line. Things like insect infestation and plumbing issues are things that can be systematically looked into prior to moving in. Because of health issues, apartment complexes are required to make sure that insects are not a problem for residents; and some plumbing concerns can be registered with county, city, or other government officials. Major problems which result in waste of water (especially in light of the recent 2007 drought in Georgia) will certainly be investigated. In short, it’s important to understand what types of personal pet peeves you have, so that others’ opinions do not adversely color your own.


One thing to note on apartment rating websites is the ratio of good reviews to bad reviews. Here’s a solid test. Log onto any apartment review site, and select a community that you are completely familiar with. Observe the number of bad reviews to the number of good ones. If you read between the lines on many of the horrible assessments, you may detect a trend.

For example, another resident reviewing her community in Smyrna, Georgia (on apartmentratings.com) had legitimate complaints regarding actions taken by the complex after her unit was broken into. But later on in the review, she goes on a tirade about a specific property management employee:

the assistant manger[sp] look like a crack head…she gossips all the time and tell other residents your business...

The problem with this particular review is that while the resident’s experience may be true, it doesn’t particularly reflect the kind of treatment that a future resident may have at the development. In fact, by the time future residents even read the review, that management employee may no longer be with the company. In essence, many disgruntled residents utilize this anonymous on line service to discredit individuals with which they have personal issues. Here’s another way to look at it: How many times do you go out of your way to contact management at businesses when the service provided to you is very good?

See also  Three Awesome Apartment Complexes in the Detroit Area

Most people rarely ever seek out managers at restaurants or other businesses when their service is particularly good. In fact, public forums for comment most often reveal more complaints than favorable responses; it is simply the nature of the beast. Therefore, even the most luxurious apartment complexes found on web sites have a significant number of “legitimate” complaints.


It’s also important to consider the timing between reviews for certain apartment developments. In metro Atlanta especially, properties tend to change hands quite frequently. Some communities have reported ownership turnovers at least twice in a given year. This means that the standards that some are accustomed to may have changed for the better (or worse) depending upon the new property owners.

One way to look into the switch is to examine the apartment communities that a company owns. Look at their locations, the demographic of people in the area, and the prices on units. These things can tell you a lot about what kind of values a specific company stands behind.

Also, it’s important to note that some residents reviewing their apartments may have done so after one or two specific incidents. In fact, these same reviewers could have had a flawless living experience after their incident with faulty plumbing. But because many people overlook writing positive reviews, readers will never find out that conditions may have improved drastically.

Apartment rating services are great for getting an inside peek into communities that one may have never heard about. It’s always good to hear first-hand accounts instead of relying solely on the advertising of “hungry” management personnel. The trick is to first understand what you are looking for in an apartment community. Then take that understanding, and read carefully between the lines when using consumer apartment reviews as a resource.

See also  OPK Telemarketing