Touring Apartments: Do’s, Don’ts and Seeing The Potential

Touring an apartment, especially your first apartment, can be rather nerve-wracking, but it does not have to be. Here are a few tips about what to do and what not to do, in order to make the most of your apartment visits.


  • Make sure you select a good time to tour, so you will have enough time to see the apartment, as well as the common areas of the building or the complex
  • Text clearly & call when the ad indicates. (Check this post on how to make the first contact.)
  • Dress appropriately, like you would for a job interview
  • Confirm price with landlord before touring
  • Ask about safety components: gated apartment, access, locks, who can get to your door
  • Check out the neighborhood at nighttime: it can reveal a different side of the area
  • If you new to town, ask acquaintances about the neighborhood. (I always ask the Uber driver on the way to the tour.)
  • Take note of what transportation options are available: parking? bus? subway?
  • Ask questions about the apartment: amenities, utilities included, availability, lease term, average cost of utilities (if not included), “vibe” of the complex, pet fees…
  • Take note of “worst case” scenarios: for example, if a nearby bridge closes down, what happens to your commute? Is your apartment in major hurricane/tornado/flood zones?
  • Take pictures!!! You will need these in making your final decision.


  • Be late for the tour!
  • Bring food and drinks to the apartment
  • Worry too much about minor stains in carpeting, scrapes on walls, etc.  Most landlords will have the apartments deep-cleaned, sometimes even re-carpeted before future tenants.
  • Tour the apartment if its out of your price range, you’ll just set yourself up for a disappointment later on
  • Reveal your true feelings on a tour, whether good or bad; it could work against you and take away your negotiating leverage or even turn the landlord against you.
  • Forget your manners! Make sure you say please and thank you throughout your tour. It’s a dying practice that will get you noticed.

See The Potential

  • Look beyond how current tenants decorate. Focus on infrastructure: windows, floor plan, kitchen layout, etc.
  • Give yourself a moment to play house – is this where you see yourself for the next 12 months or longer?
  • Ignore the glitz and glamour, especially if  you are touring a model apartment, and imagine the apartment completely empty. Would you still like it?
  • Ask yourself: does this apartment not only accommodate my lifestyle now, but fit the short-term goals for my life?


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Author My First Apartment

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Marisa Rinchiuso is a Design+Production major at Carnegie Mellon with a passion for DIY, budgeting and event management. She's always on the search for a great deal and new projects. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, crafts and travel.

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