Taking an apartment tour is a good way to measure whether you want to move in, as well as whether you’ll get along with the property manager or landlord. You don’t want to just spend the whole time looking at the features of the apartment and listening; take notes and ask a lot of questions.
1. How Often Do the Police Visit?
This question might catch the landlord off guard, but it’s a valid one. As nice as the apartment might look on the inside, you never know who’s living around you. You can expect a few visits from the police at any apartment complex in a given year, but if the number of visits is in the dozens, there may be a crime problem that’s not obvious. You can also ask if there are any registered sex offenders living in the building.
2. What’s Damaged?
You don’t want to end up paying for any damages to the apartment that were already there when you moved in. This could be anything from a faulty light switch to a dripping sink faucet or a tiny scratch in the paint. Take notes on anything that’s not working properly, and take photos to document them before you move in. You’ll also want to get them noted in writing before you sign the lease.
3. Are There Pets in the Building?
Just because the ad for the apartment said “No Pets Allowed” doesn’t mean there aren’t any in the building. If you have pet allergies or you’re concerned about noise, you’ll want to ask this question. Even though pets might not be allowed, other tenants might own medical assistance animals or pets under other special circumstances.
4. Are There Major Renovations Planned?
It can be a big inconvenience if you move into an apartment and suddenly find out that major upgrades or renovations are taking place. Imagine moving in and learning a month later that you have to park several blocks away, because the apartment owner is repaving the parking lot. If the interior hallways of the building are being repainted, you might have to live with paint fumes day in and day out. Finding out these things during the apartment tour will help you make a decision on whether you want to move in.
5. What Are the Average Utilities?
If utilities are not covered in the rent, you’ll want to know what they average over the year. Specifically ask what the electric bills are when it comes to heating and electricity. You might think you’re getting a great deal on the rent, but if it costs several hundred dollars a month to heat the apartment in the winter or cool it in the summer, those savings will be negated.
6. What’s Covered in the Deposit?
Landlords can sometimes be vague on this question. You’ll want to know if carpet and window cleaning are included in your deposit, and what you can do to ensure that you get your full deposit back when you move out one day. Make sure that what you get in writing matches up with what the landlord tells you.
These are just a few questions you’ll want to ask when you take an apartment tour. Use the answers to these questions to help you make a decision.