amandac777: (Default)
[personal profile] amandac777
Does anyone know how much weight you should give online apartment ratings? I've been searching through apartments in the area where I'll be teaching next fall, and I'm seeing lots of places that look nice or reasonable. And then I check the reviews (mainly at, and find that apparently every apartment in the region is pest-infested, crime-ridden, falling apart, missing most advertised amenities, and staffed by assholes.

I need to live somewhere. The "nicer" areas in the region are generally way the hell out of my price range (which isn't that low!), and I'd strongly prefer to live within a 15-minute drive, at most. I'm an utter wuss about safety, in particular. Any tips on how to look more effectively? Random comfort, perhaps? Offers of a spare room?

Date: 2010-06-10 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The apartment complex that I live in has absolutely terrible online reviews, but is the nicest place I have ever lived. I wouldn't depend too much on the opinions of random angry people on the internet. <3

Date: 2010-06-11 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I'm trying not to give them *too* much weight, but some are pretty overwhelming. :-( And the safety thing is kind of freaking me out, I admit -- I'm pretty sheltered.

Date: 2010-06-10 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have no real advice, except that I'd maybe not pay so much attention to the crime-ridden stuff. People are weird about what they consider "bad" when it comes to neighbourhoods. They have prejudices, or behave in weird "ROB ME PLEASE!" sorts of ways, and I just don't trust people when they say some area is bad because too often I've then gone to said area and found it to be just fine.

Where are you moving to, if I may ask? Really the best thing to do is to find someone you know with the experience of the area.

Date: 2010-06-11 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm moving just west of Baltimore. (Trying to keep specific info off of unlocked posts.)

Yeah, and I suppose I'm fairly picky about what is "bad." Hazards of living in sheltered areas, for the most part. Not that there's no crime here, but it's really a small amount.

Date: 2010-06-10 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree. Reviews, while something to keep in your mind, aren't everything. An angry person is probably far more likely to take the initiative to tell everyone how crap it is while someone who is perfectly content may not.

Also, I think if you don't know anyone from the area, if you visit then you'll be able to gauge how safe you do or don't feel.

Date: 2010-06-11 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's true, and I'm trying to remember - but then, some have an impressive *amount* of bad reviews.

I was there a couple weeks ago, and one problem is that the area seems to go up and down very quickly as you go up a street. The apartment complex that I really liked on visiting seemed like it would be really safe, except that reviews suggested that people take the bus to the end of the line - there - and pick up a car to take back. And others suggested that the large gated community has significant crime from the people who *do* live there. Which can be a matter of deceiving looks, you know?

Date: 2010-06-10 11:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are talking about a highly subjective area being judged by strangers. So who knows what any of what they say really means. After all, I'm pretty sure there are plenty of areas that I feel are perfectly safe that you'd see as crime-ridden cesspools. See if you can find some sort of more objective data to make your decision. After all, even my broke-ass and crappy city is able to put crime reporting online. I get a nice map with different colored dots all over for various crimes reported in the city at least once a month through my neighborhood association. Actual crime stats might be a better choice for decision making.

Date: 2010-06-11 05:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, and of course once I start trying to look them up, I get all panicky. Because there's an impressive amount for what, at second check, turns out to be a three-day span. And sure, I'm sure a lot is minor, but definitely not all of it. (And yeah, I'm a wuss. We knew that.)

Date: 2010-06-10 01:23 pm (UTC)
jerusha: (jack thinks hard)
From: [personal profile] jerusha
If you're worried about crime, there are better ways to figure out if there's a lot of it in that area: CrimeMapping.

Otherwise, I wouldn't give too much weight to online reviews. Mostly, people write a review when they want to bitch about something, so for every one negative review, there are probably at least a dozen people who had nothing bad to say about that same place.

Date: 2010-06-11 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for the link, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to cover Maryland. I know there are other ways of finding crime stats; I just need to figure out how to use them properly. (I have managed to figure out enough to terrify myself - based on stats from the last *week*.)

Yeah, I'm trying to take that balance into account, and point out to myself that an honest review of the place I've lived comfortably for the last 8 years would be mediocre to poor.

Date: 2010-06-10 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sleep in your car and shower in the gym like Ms. Tharp.

Date: 2010-06-11 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I could try that, but where should I *park* the car?

Also, I don't think Athena would appreciate it.


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