One of the most important parts of finding an apartment is seeing it. You need to schedule an apartment viewing and thoroughly check out the space that will potentially be your home for the next year or longer. The viewing is the time to make sure that this is the kind of space you want to live in. It can be pretty daunting at first but I swear you’ll get a hang of it quickly.
If there is a time to ask questions, this is it! I always found it helpful to have a printout of the rental ad, so I could confirm what the landlord provides and what is missing from my own personal checklist. You will have someone to answer questions right in front of you, so take advantage of that. Ask about parking fees, what utilities do they cover (water? garbage collection? internet?), are pets allowed, what is the noise level like, etc. Also, clarify the costs that you will be paying. How much is the security deposit? How much is the monthly rental? What forms of payment do they accept for rent? Is there a late fee? How much is the estimated monthly electric bill? What paperwork is required for the apartment application process? Always get the name of the person showing the apartment, in case you have post-viewing questions.
Check out the apartment
During any viewing, it is essential to check out all the features of the apartment. One of the key things for me was looking through the cabinets and closets. You want to make sure that you are getting what you are paying for and that everything is in a good working condition. If you see anything amiss, say something. Try to spot any holes that indicate vermin or some other type of infestations. Look inside closets and under the sinks for signs of mold. See if any cabinets are broken, which indicates poor maintenance. Turn on the faucets and see what the water pressure is like. (That may seem like a minor detail but I guarantee you’ll be annoyed with a weak shower every day as long as you live in the apartment.) Test the oven and stove burners. Do the windows open and close and lock easily? What is right outside your window? Is the apartment on a main street or a quiet neighborhood with minimal traffic? Take a moment and listen. You may not hear the regular sounds of your neighbors but its always good to hear what’s around you. How is the exterior of the apartment? Does the landlord or the company take proper care of the facility? Is it evident that it needs maintenance? Is it older but well maintained? These are all things that are important when scoping out your new place.
We continue to document even the most insignificant moments in our lives, but apartment viewing is actually one of those times when it’s important to take lots of pictures. You do it for couple of reasons. First, this will help jog your memory when you look at many places and aid in making your decision. Having a visual will give you the opportunity to look back and see what you liked (or disliked) about a certain place. It will assist in visualizing the layout of one apartment compared to others that you viewed. Second, you’ll have a record of any problems you spot (chipped tile, stain on floor, etc.) so your landlord will not try to ding your security deposit for them when you move out.
Give yourself options. If they have other apartments in the building or complex that you can look at, go for it. See as many places as you can, so you’ll be sure when you sign the lease that you got the best one.
Please share in the comments your best apartment viewing tips.