If it sounds too good to be true…
The pictures looked a little too perfect, tantalizing description seemed beefed up but you’re willing to go take a look. Here are the questions to ask to ensure your new apartment is exactly what you wanted and not some imposter!
Questions to ask when searching for an apartment, before you sign the lease!
- Take notes beyond pricing. Jot down items in the ad which attracted you. In the phone call to the property these will be the 1st items you want to verify.
- Confirm all the claims made in the ad and clarify any sketchy statements. “Private Lake” could mean beautiful serene setting or giant, funky hole where water gathers.
- Ask for the total square footage of the apartment as well as the footage of each room. Some places my do some slight rounding so if you can get the room measurements it is better than trying to visualize 800 square feet!
- Verify total rent per month including all fees. There’s nothing worse than getting to the office and being informed of fees which push you over budget and over the edge!
- There’s no sense in wasting time viewing an apartment that isn’t going to be ready for three months if you’re ready to move next week. Verify availability.
- If you have any special needs, such as a dog that will be moving in with you, an affinity for the third floor, or an allergy to a certain type of carpet, make sure your requirements can be met.
- If possible view the actual apartment you are leasing in addition to a model apartment home. If you are unable to see the apartment, ask to be shown exactly where the apartment is located on the property and what the differences are between what you saw and what they are trying to sell.
- During the viewing are there insects or rodents present?
- Are there enough windows to provide ample light for your taste and do they open and close properly?
- Are the rooms big enough to fit your furniture? How much closet/storage space is there? Don’t underestimate how much space your belongings will take up. Take a tape measure with you to be sure.
- How do guests obtain entry and what type of security is in place? If there is an electronic system, test it out to make sure it works.
- Make sure that the apartment will be cleaned and have the paint touched up before you move in.
- How is the apartment heated and cooled? Check the units to see what shape they are in. Also ask what utilities are included in the rent and which ones is your responsibility as a renter.
- What is the maintenance policy? What fixes are included in the rent and which ones are not. If there are repairs that are not included in the rent, find out if there is an extra charge and how much it is. There should be a prompt emergency contact and a non-emergency line as well.
- What parking is available and is it included in the rent? Ask if any special permits are required to park in the lot or in the streets around the building.
- Be clear on all fees for applying and non-refundable portions of the money you’re being asked for. Read your paperwork.
- Make a walk-through of the apartment before you sign the lease making sure to give feedback on any items you need changed or would like considered.
- When is the rent due and what is the policy on late rent?
- What types of provisions are in the lease for excessive noise or overnight guests? Read every line and be sure you understand what your part of the deal is.
- Are you required to hold renter’s insurance? If so, how much will a policy cost?
- Is the neighborhood safe? Actually, this is something leasing agents are not permitted to tell you by federal law. Walk the neighborhood at night (with a friend) and observe your surroundings. Also check online to see if crime reports are available for your neighborhood.
- When can you move in your belongings? Check the move in/move out dates printed on the lease. If the 1st of the month falls on a Wednesday, can you move in the previous weekend or will you have to do a weekday move?
Be sure to also get a copy of the lease and keep it in a safe place.
Need more moving tips? Use our moving checklist to make your move as smooth as possible!