According to Realtor Jay Morrison: How to Rent An Apartment the Smart Way

Jay MorrisonVV: Is it better to pay for utilities included or pay less and foot your own bill?
JM: You have to just gauge your deal in what make sense for you budget and neighborhood. If you have multiple people in the house, it’s probably better to pay your own utilities and not drive the price of the rent down. It’s way cheaper than having it reflected in the price, and you guys control [the utility bill] by budgeting better.

What season is it the best to look for a specific location?
The fall going into winter, even the dead of winter. Winter is where it’s the lowest market for sellers and leasers. You have a lot of people looking for places in the spring and summer, so they can get settled before the school year. The landlords have the leverage. But in the winter, it’s the least demand for people moving so that’s when you have the most flexibility and most chance to negotiate as a potentional tenant.

When purchasing or renting in a new area, you want to check the neighborhood during the daytime, the afternoon and morning. Check it at night around 7, 8 or 9 and actually know what you’re getting into. A neighborhood can have two different personalities during the day and in the evening.

Most unsafe are for female to live.
If you drive, find [an apartment] where you can park close to your residence. You don’t want to worry about walking around the block at 2 a.m. You want someplace that is well lit at all times.

Craziest request someone wanted in their house?
Someone asked to have a wine cooler in the floor with a see through glass. It came out pretty hot.