Whether it’s your first move or your fifth, it can be a daunting and intimidating process to find a new place to live. There are so many options, but finding one that fits you and your lifestyle is a monumental task!
Thankfully, there are some questions you can ask to make the process easier. Read on for 29 things to consider when apartment hunting!
1. Are Pets Allowed?
If you are moving with a furry friend, it’s important to figure out if your pet is also allowed to live there. Some properties don’t advertise being pet friendly but will let you pay a pet deposit monthly to cover any incidental costs they might incur there.
While many apartment complexes allow dogs, many also have breed restrictions. These restrictions vary from apartment to apartment, so you need to be aware and review the restricted breed list before signing your lease.
Breeds commonly on apartments restricted breed lists include, but are not limited to, pit bulls, German shepherds, boxers, Rottweilers, Huskies, and more.
2. Does It Fit Into Your Budget?
One of the biggest considerations for a new apartment is your budget. Does this new place fit your financial constraints? Most people advise sticking to a 50-30-20 rule for budgeting your monthly income— with no more than 30% of it used for rent.
3. Is the Apartment Furnished or Unfurnished?
This is essential to know whether you can move into the apartment without worrying about furnishings or if you need to go shopping. Plus, furnished versus unfurnished properties can also play a part in your initial budget!
4. Can You Decorate?
While some properties are completely fine with you adding a fresh coat of paint or some wall hangings, others are strict about making changes. It’s a good idea to know which type of landlord you’re dealing with before putting holes in the wall.
5. How Are the Reviews?
You can often find reviews online for any given apartment building, including the safety and cleanliness of the property, and even the staff who work there, such as doormen, building managers, and more. Take a look at these reviews before signing.
But remember, unhappy people, are more likely to leave a review than happy people are. So, take them with a grain of salt.
6. Has the Apartment Been Renovated?
It can be quite common to renovate an apartment before listing it for rental. Not only does this update the fixtures and utilities, but it also makes the entire space feel fresh. It’s worth asking about the latest renovations and changes made.
Some questions you may want to ask include:
- Does the apartment have carpet, hardwood, or plank flooring?
- Are the appliances stainless steel?
- What color are the cabinets?
- What material is used for the countertops?
- Does the unit have smart home technology?
7. Are the Common Areas Well-Kept?
A good tip is to keep an eye out for the condition of the building’s common areas, including lawns, gardens, reception, elevators, and hallways. If they are well-kept, that’s a good sign for the maintenance of the building!
8. Does the Building Have Amenities?
Some apartment buildings have a variety of handy amenities for the people who live there. These can include a communal swimming pool, gym, or even a games room, but you also might be expected to pay a membership for using such amenities.
9. Are There Easily Accessible Laundry Machines?
Keeping clean is a must for everyone, and knowing the convenience of your laundry situation is key. Does the apartment unit have a washer and dryer already installed? Are there at least washer and dryer hookups? Or would you have to use a communal coin laundry room in the building?
10. Are the Doors & Windows in Good Condition?
Another important task is to check every door and window in the apartment that leads to the outside. Make sure they all lock securely and cannot be easily jimmied open. Additionally, do check for drafts coming in through closed doors and windows.
11. Are There Security Precautions?
Your safety comes first when considering a new apartment, so make sure there are adequate security systems all over the premises. This includes cameras, alarms, and security locks or codes to get into the building.
Keep an eye out for smart home technology too. Some apartment complexes are starting to install smart home devices in apartments. So now renters can set their alarm, lock their doors, and more all from the phone, no matter where they are.
12. Do All of the Electrical Sockets Work?
Sometimes the electrical outlets within an apartment can be overlooked and assumed to work. However, it’s important to bring a charger with you and plug in a device such as your smartphone to test every socket in the apartment for functionality.
After you move in, apartments often require residents to fill out an inspection checklist. During your inspection, you list any and all problems you see in the unit. This is a great time to recheck the electrical sockets to ensure they are all functioning properly.
13. Do the Neighbors Seem Nice?
Even if you are not overly social, you’re still likely to interact with the neighbors once in a while, whether when walking to your car or simply letting your dogs out. So, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the people surrounding your potential apartment. Introduce yourself and ask a few questions about the place!
14. Do You Have a Long Commute?
Finding an apartment that doesn’t make your commute time to work or school unbearable is important. This is especially important as gas prices continue to increase across the nation.
Make sure to map out the route and time it will take to get from the apartment to your daily destination and consider it.
15. How Convenient Is the Location?
While it might be nice and close to school or work, you also need to be within easy commuting distance to other essential locations, like shopping centers, grocery stores, gas stations, and even daycares or veterinarians. Keep this in mind.
16. Do You Have Cell Reception?
As we depend more on our phones now than ever, having good cell reception is essential. Don’t forget to pull out your phone and check service levels in each room of the apartment, making a note of any weak or reception-less spots.
17. Do You See Any Signs of Pests or Infestations?
There’s nothing worse than moving into a new apartment and being greeted by unwelcome tenants, particularly if they are of the pest variety. Look for signs of insects, rodents, and other infestations, including mold or mildew.
18. Do Your Roommates or Family Members Feel Comfortable There?
If you have roommates coming with you, it’s essential to consider their opinions. Are they comfortable with the location and property? Or, if you are moving there with your family, how do they feel? It’s good to take into account.
19. How Do The Ceilings & Floors Look?
Always look above and below you when walking through an apartment. If the ceiling has stains, bulges, or cracks, it can be a sign of water damage or mold. Additionally, if the floors are warped and damaged, it could mean problems with leakage.
If you or your roommates are tall, you may also consider the ceiling heights. Apartments with 10-foot ceilings may be ideal.
20. How Long Can You Lease the Apartment?
It’s essential to know how long you can live in the location before getting serious about an apartment. If it isn’t clear on the listing, ask whether the property has a short-term or long-term lease and whether it could be altered in the future.
21. Is It Noisy Inside?
It might seem settled during your initial visit, but take a moment to be silent and listen to the surrounding noises. Whether it be cars outside, children playing, or pets barking, make sure it won’t be too loud when working or sleeping.
If the apartment is near a highway or busy street, try to visit it during peak times, 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, to see how noisy nearby traffic is.
22. Can You Meet the Building’s Maintenance Technician?
Regardless of where you live, there will always be something that ends up breaking or malfunctioning. And if your building has a maintenance team for this purpose, ask to meet them, or at least to introduce yourself to the lead contractor.
23. Is Smoking Allowed Inside the Property?
Whether or not you smoke this is an important consideration. It can be a pain to leave non-smoking buildings for a puff. But for anyone with respiratory issues living in a smoke-friendly environment can be problematic.
24. Is the Plumbing in Good Condition?
Don’t forget to test the plumbing and water quality within the apartment when you view it. Run the faucets, flush the toilet, and fill the sinks to ensure they don’t leak. Turn on the shower and test the hot water capabilities to ensure it works, too.
25. Is There Enough Storage Space?
Closets, shelving, utility rooms, pantries— storage is essential for apartment living. What are the storage solutions like in the property? There should be enough room available to stow your belongings comfortably.
26. Is There Parking Available?
If you or any of the people living with you have a vehicle or anticipate guests visiting with their cars, it’s important to have adequate space available. Ask about street or lot parking and whether covered spaces have an additional fee.
Some apartment complexes require guests to park in a specified area, download an app to check in, or get a guest pass from residents. Either way, it is important to know the parking procedures for guests.
27. What Condition Is the Apartment In?
In general, it’s wise to consider what the general condition of the apartment is. Is it clean or dirty, are there cracks or holes in the walls, does the carpeting have stains? This might end up being your home, so make sure you’re honest with yourself! Could you see yourself living in the apartment for 6-months to a year?
28. What Is the Neighborhood Like?
Take a stroll around the neighborhood at different times of the day and week to get a feel for the surrounding area. Is it noisy on Friday night? Does the garbage get emptied right outside the building early on Sunday morning? It’s good to know!
29. Which Utilities Are Included in the Lease?
Lastly, understanding what utilities are included with your lease and monthly payments are essential to keeping within your budget. Ask about the suppliers for heating, water, Wi-Fi, television, and more, and calculate this into your finances.
Apartment Insurance For All
No matter the property you choose, one of the most important considerations is purchasing a protection plan for your new home and the belongings inside by opting for a great renter’s insurance policy.
Speak to your insurance agent today about what you need to be covered and how the policy can be tailored to your specifications and budgetary constraints!