Shopping for the right apartment can be fun and exciting. However, you should be careful not to fall in love with a place until you check it out fully. Just because an apartment looks fantastic, that does not mean that it might not have some hidden flaws that can come back to haunt you after you are locked into a lease.
Do not just look at a demo apartment; make sure you tour the exact apartment you will be renting. Consider little amenities. How close is the dumpster? Is it a short walk or a hike? If you have a dog, are you close to the designated dog walking area? These may sound like little things, but they can become frustrating over time, especially when the weather is bad. Is it in a crowded or quiet area of the complex? Is parking crowded? These are all important factors to consider.
The first thing apartment hunters want to know is what are the neighbors like? Be frank and ask the property manager if there are any noise problems in the building. Try to meet the neighbors in your building if you can, or at least ask who they are. If you find out the couple next door has a baby that cries a lot or the woman across the hall has a dog that barks every time someone walks through the hallway then you might want to consider a different apartment.
Test the sinks, toilets and other bathroom fixtures. Make sure the heating and air conditioning work. Does the refrigerator seem cold enough? Does the oven work? These are all things that are better to deal with before you rent the apartment rather than after the fact. If you spot a problem the property manager or owner will likely say, “We’ll get that fixed before you move in.” Make sure he or she actually does get any problems fixed before you sign the lease agreement.
Look out for any damage that the previous occupant might have done. You do not want to liable for someone else’s carelessness. If you spot any problems such as cracks in the wall or damage to the carpeting, point them out to the property manager right away and make sure he or she knows the damage was there before you moved in. Most property owners expect some wear and tear, but do not neglect to point out something that could potentially cost you your security deposit.
Even though it is your apartment, you will be living within a relatively small community. Find out what the apartment complex’s rules and regulations are. For example, are parking spaces assigned or first come first serve? Is guest parking available? What is their pet policy? All of these things are important to know. Make sure you understand exactly what the apartment complex expects of you and what you can expect from them.
When you lease an apartment, you are entering an agreement to live there for at least a year or more. Check out prospective apartments thoroughly and try to consider all the angles. Once you are satisfied, you can move in knowing that you will have a comfortable and happy home.
About the Author: Royce Hunsley’s first apartment was near a public train station and he didn’t realize it until after the lease was signed. He ended up having to spent more money soundproofing a room and will never make the same mistake again.