The Essential Apartment Search Checklist
If you're looking for your next apartment, you probably already know that there is much to consider. Not only do you need to find an apartment within your budget, but it also has to be in the right location and have a list of your desired features. Even if you think you've found the perfect place, your work isn't complete. There are many more questions that you should ask and details that you need to examine to make sure that your apartment renting experience is a positive one. Here are just seven items to put on your next apartment search checklist.
Ask About Up-Front Fees
Moving into an apartment often isn't cheap. So there are no surprises, ask right away about the upfront fees. These can include such things as an application fee, credit check fee, security deposit, and first and last month's rent. Also, if you are bringing a pet, there is often an additional pet deposit charged.
Are Pets Allowed?
Speaking of pets, if you have a furry loved one or have dreams of owning a pet, this could be an instant deal-breaker. Find out if the landlord or community allows pets or has breed restrictions. In some places, you may not even be permitted to have visitors with pets.
Inquire About Renewal Rates
Happy renters often renew their leases year after year. Ask the landlord about the rate of lease renewals in the community. If it is low, consider this a red flag that there are some issues.
Find Out What's Included With Your Rent
Sometimes, an apartment comes with a few perks which can cut down on your monthly bills. Ask, and confirm in writing, whether such things as basic utilities, garbage, water, and even cable are included with the rent.
How Are Maintenance Issues Handled?
It's a given that apartments have some minor issues at times, but it's how they are handled that makes the difference. Inquire up front about maintenance and emergencies. Is someone on site to deal with problems? What is the procedure and the turnaround time to get a problem addressed?
Do a Thorough Unit Inspection
Once you've found a rental unit through your apartment search that meets your basic criteria, you need to do a thorough inspection of the apartment. A quick walk-through won't suffice. Here are just a few things that you'll want to confirm:
- Faucets work and have good water pressure.
- No damage on floors, ceilings, or walls.
- Windows and doors operate and don't have leaks.
- Heating and air conditioning work properly.
- All appliances are operating and confirmed included.
- Electrical sockets work and are grounded.
- Ample storage space is available.
- Noise level from adjacent units is acceptable.
Investigate the Community and Neighborhood
Investigate the both the community and the neighborhood for suitability. Is there a crime problem in the area? Will you have enough parking near your rental? Make sure that the unit isn't too close to common areas or roads where there will be excess noise.
Doing an apartment search can be both exciting and overwhelming. Consider these items in your search before you make a commitment. Search properties in your area now.