11/09/2011 06:09 pm ET Updated Jan 09, 2012

NYC Real Estate Survival: 8 Things You Must Know About Your Next Apartment

In the high-rise jungle that is New York City, there's a lot more to your next apartment than meets the eye or the checkbook. Don't plunk down your money until you rule out (or at least open your eyes to) these eight quality-of-life factors that could seriously mess with your happily ever after.

• In-building nuisances: Ask current tenants if there are any problems with cooking odors, secondhand smoke, loud or abusive neighbors, rodents, bed bugs, mice or roaches. Ask the management whether there's been a bed bug problem in the past year. If your apartment is near the elevator or compactor room, be prepared for extra noise. Not a fan of hallway soccer matches and the pitter patter of heavy little feet overhead? Then you may want to steer clear of buildings with lots of family sized apartments, playrooms, and strollers parked in the hallways.

• Neighborhood nuisances: Religious institutions and schools are notoriously vexing neighbors in terms of noise, milling crowds, traffic and parking. So are nightclubs and rooftop bars (visit the block around midnight to spot them), and construction sites.

• Central heat and a/c: If these are centrally controlled, what time of year does the building switch over? You could be poaching or freezing for a long time.

• Restaurant delivery:  Type your building's address into to check your delivery options. Find out whether the building allows meals to be delivered to your door or whether you'll have to meet your food in the lobby.

• Elevators: Are there enough? Four elevators for 49 stories can add up to a lot of cumulative downtime, especially during rush hour. If your building has a solo lift, make sure you can tolerate the occasional hike. Check to see whether bikes, strollers or dogs must be transported via freight elevator.

• Cell reception: If you're planning to do without a landline, check the apartment's cell reception. (Cell towers are designed to reach users on the sidewalk, so high floors can be particularly spotty.)

• Double standards for renters: If you're renting a condo or co-op building, there may be different rules for renters. For example, you may not be allowed to have pets or use certain amenities (or use them without paying an extra fee).

• Staff: A live-in super is ideal.  Ask other tenants whether the staff is quick to fix things. Also pay attention to attitude: Helpful, indifferent, or surly makes a big difference.