Renting an apartment is an important step in life, whether you are looking for one during the summer months or the winter months. The apartment search process can be both exciting and overwhelming. This is because there are so many apartment complexes to choose from when it comes to renting a new apartment. That’s why it’s wise to do your research before committing to a lease. Following the right guidelines can help you find the perfect place to call home.
From determining monthly expenses and the required security deposit to conducting a detailed apartment inspection, there are many factors to consider when renting an apartment. With the right information, you can find the perfect apartment that fits your lifestyle and budget.
So what exactly should you be looking for when renting an apartment other than the guided apartment tour and a virtual apartment tour?
Let’s explore more about this.
What to look for when renting an apartment
A new apartment might look great at first glance, but what if you later find out about that broken washer after moving? An honest property manager will always advise you to have a detailed analysis of every thing related to the apartment, even before signing the lease. By doing this, you can avoid or reduce any potential conflict with your landlord regarding the condition of the property and ensure that your living environment is both safe and enjoyable.
Even if you’ve planned to deep clean your apartment once you move into the new place, here’s what you should look for before renting an apartment:
The landlord plays a crucial role in determining your rental experience. An owner with unethical behavior or a lack of boundaries can lead to an unpleasant experience, even if you found a perfect apartment. This is especially true if you prefer to have limited interaction with the owner. To avoid this, it’s wise to meet your potential landlord in person before submitting the rental application.
If you’re moving into an apartment where roommates already live, you can ask about their overall experience with the landlord. This will give you a fair idea if you should agree to the rental terms offered by the property manager.
The rental prices
The most critical factor to consider is affordability. Consider your budget carefully before appraising an apartment. You can research rent prices in the neighborhood to better understand the rents you will have to pay after moving into the new apartment.
If you prefer to choose the best location in the area, but your monthly income does not allow you to budget accordingly, you should either save some money or find ways to reduce your expenses. Beware of apartments with rent that is significantly below market rate, as this could indicate a potential red flag. Instead, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with market conditions before conducting an apartment search and visiting apartment complexes.
Make a detailed apartment inspection checklist
Before submitting a rental application, it is crucial to carefully inspect the property to ensure its cleanliness, security and general suitability. An apartment inspection during the apartment search process can help prevent or reduce conflicts with your landlord regarding the condition of the property and provide you with a safer and more enjoyable living environment.
That said, make sure your apartment inspection checklist should include the following:
Although each room requires its own individual inspection, there are certain items that should be assessed throughout the apartment. Start inspecting these items as they will serve as reminders to check them when moving from room to room.
Make sure electrical outlets and light fixtures are working (you can do this by plugging a small device, like a night light or phone charger) into each of the outlets. Also turn on all light fixtures and check their functionality. You can check for unusual odors, burn marks, or cracks in the covers. If something doesn’t seem to be working properly, let the property managers know right away so they can perform the required maintenance before your move-in date.
Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
Check that smoke detectors are present near each bedroom, the front door and the kitchen. You should also test them to confirm that they are working properly.
Also keep in mind the functionality of the batteries. You can ask when the property manager replaced the batteries. You should replace the batteries and the entire smoke detector every 10 years.
However, this is not enough to ensure the security of the apartment. Determine if fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors are also present in the apartment. If so, ask them if they are operational.
Inspect windows and doors
Entry points are the most vulnerable aspect of any apartment. Make sure all locks work properly. Also, be aware of all the other security features, such as peepholes, chain locks, keypad codes, surveillance cameras, and remote unlocking capabilities.
If the apartment you are visiting does not yet have a security system, ask the landlord if you can install one yourself. If they agree, be sure to add that to the terms of the lease as well.
Why regret later when you can identify problems with pipes and water pressure before you even move into your new home? From faucets to toilets, it’s wise to check the functionality of every bathroom fixture.
Open all faucets and assess the water pressure. Note the time it takes for the hot water to heat up and the cold water to cool. Make sure there are no leaks from faucets or underlying plumbing, as even minor drops can significantly increase your water bill over time. You can also inspect the sink for cracks in the basin and pipes. It may be wise to also consider apartments that include water in the rent.
If the laundry room is locked, ask the property manager to open it so you can inspect it. Any problem in this area can cause significant problems with the apartment. So it makes sense to take a close look at it.
You can examine the washing machine and the dryer. Make sure all pipes and exhausts are securely attached and working. Look for any clogs and verify that the dryer’s lint screen is in good condition. Run each device to verify that it is working properly. You can also look for water spots and mold.
For apartment dwellers, this is where most essential appliances are located. That is why it is worth inspecting all these devices. Start by activating the stove to confirm that it is heating up quickly. You should also open and close the oven door several times to check for a good seal.
Don’t forget the dishwasher, though. Make sure the dishwasher does not have any unusual leaks or odors. Start it and let the water run before turning it off.
In addition to the monthly rent, you may have to pay various utility costs during your tenancy. These can include water, gas, air conditioning, sewage, garbage disposal, and electricity expenses, among others. The terms of your lease should explicitly state the utility expenses for which you are responsible.
It is possible that some charges are included in the monthly rent, but this varies from apartment to apartment. To clarify any uncertainties, be sure to consult your landlord before signing the lease.
Maybe you can’t wait to surprise your four-legged friend with a new apartment! That said, be sure to check the apartment’s pet policy in advance. The rental agreement must specify the pet policy established by the owner. This is an important aspect to consider if you own a pet or plan to have one. Be sure to check the following details:
- Any pet deposit fees imposed by the owner
- The conditions under which the the deposit can be refunded
- Types of animals accepted
- Any restrictions on the weight of the animal
Have a professional (like a real estate agent or lawyer) review the lease before you sign it to make sure it’s a standard agreement with no hidden clauses. This improves transparency between landlord and tenant from the start of the apartment search.
You should also carefully review the lease yourself to make sure it meets your specific requirements. Other aspects to review the rental agreement include the following:
● Apartment rental options (whether 6 month, 1 year or month-to-month contract)
● Due date for rent payments each month
● Rules regarding joint tenants
● Persons responsible for apartment maintenance
● Parking regulations
● The conditions under which the security deposit will be refunded
Having a stable monthly income and paying the security deposit when renting your next apartment is a typical rule indicating that your relationship with the landlord will work well. It is also important to budget for other monthly expenses associated with renting. This way you will be able to minimize stress and make the rental experience as smooth as possible.
Before signing the rental agreement, we recommend that you read it carefully and ensure that you comply with all the conditions of the lease during your rental. Now that you know what to look for when looking for an apartment, moving into your dream home will be a piece of cake!