If you’re looking for an apartment, there are a lot of things to look for, think about and ask before you commit to a lease. While looking online is always the necessary first step, it’s imperative to visit the apartment community in-person to ensure there are no hidden surprises! So, you’ve narrowed it down to your top choices, gone down the “Yelp rabbit hole” and are finally ready to see the units and apartment communities in person. What do you when you tour with the landlord or leasing company? Here are some crucial items many excited renters forget to ask that come back to haunt them.
Call before you tour! No one likes wasting time, so be sure you call ahead to book a tour and talk to the leasing specialist, property manager or landlord. Make sure the rent price you’ve found listed online, as well as the apartment availability, security deposit, and application process and fees are accurate. They’ll likely tell you a few of their basic requirements for renting, as to not waste either of your time if you don’t fit the criteria (i.e. pet policy, etc.).
Once you’re on an apartment tour, here are some key questions to ask.
- How long is the lease? Typically leases are 12 months, but the length can vary and shorter leases can be more costly. Ensure you know what you’re signing up for!
- Are utilities included? And if so, which ones?
- Are there any special move-in offers or discounts?
- What’s the parking sitch? Depending upon your location, parking can be a huge headache if you have a roommate (or two) and only one spot. Be sure you know what you’re getting into when it comes to parking.
- If you have a pet and the apartment is pet friendly, what are the associated fees, i.e. deposits, pet rent, etc.?
- Spend a few minutes listening. Does the unit come with a barking dog next door?
- What’s the condition of the carpet, tiles, countertops, etc.? If there are blemishes, be sure to make note of them and see if the community manager can fix these issues before you move in. And if they can’t fix them, take dated photos so you don’t get blamed for them upon move out!
- Ask how to file maintenance requests.
- Got a lot of stuff? Be sure to ask if there are storage units available for bikes, extra furniture, etc.
- Need stuff? Can you arrange to rent a furnished apartment?
- Where’s the mailbox and how do you receive larger packages?
- Do they have a subletting policy?
- And, finally if you like what you see and are ready to rent, make sure everything is functioning – light switches, smoke detectors, ceiling fans, ovens, toilets, etc. Typically this is done on move-in day, but if you’re interested in renting, you can check some of these things during the tour.
When you receive a move-in inspection sheet on move-in day, you’ll spend a lot less time nitpicking the unit, as well as a lot less time waiting for maintenance to fix any issues during the first few weeks after move-in. Good luck and happy apartment hunting!