One thing you may not consider when renting an apartment, condo or home is the management structure of who you are renting from. However, whether you rent from a property management company, a single investor/landlord, or an apartment with onsite management can greatly affect your experience.
When you rent from a property management company, you are working with a team of professionals who have processes in place to handle all the parts of renting. From applications, to viewing apartments, to handling maintenance requests in a timely manner, property management companies have personnel who specialize in fulfilling the needs of renters. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a badly managed property management company or one that has to go to the landlord for every single little question, there may be a lot of waiting to have your requests fulfilled.
If you are renting a home, condo, or apartment from an individual owner, you have the benefit of actually having a personal relationship with the person you rent from. Your landlord may even be your neighbor or roommate. This may provide more flexibility in making requests such as asking for a shorter term or month-to-month lease. An individual owner also may be more likely to allow you to make changes to an apartment, such as painting the walls. By renting the unit themselves, a property owner will save money and will most likely pass those savings on to you. On the other hand, an individual owner may be overwhelmed by trying to do it all themselves and so you may have to wait longer to get back to you. They also may see your unit as simply an investment and may not prioritize your needs.
Onsite management combines the best of both worlds in many ways. You have professionals whose job is dealing with renters, like a property management company, and someone with whom you can have a personal relationship, as with an individual investor/landlord. Maintenance requests should be dealt with in a timely manner, as there is someone onsite both to process the requests and usually to complete them, and you know your rent will be marked as on time because you can directly hand it to a real person. They will also be able to handle the application, viewing and leasing process easily because they are pros.