Finding your next home can be an exciting time! But just because an apartment looks like your dream home doesn’t mean that it necessarily is. There are a number of things to look for when touring an apartment — things that are best found out sooner rather than later, lest you should find yourself in your own personal nightmare.
Bug infestations, overly expensive utility bills, and horrible landlords are things many renters have experienced at one point or another. So before you sign that lease, make sure to consider everything on this list:
Although a lot of apartments don’t come with top-of-the-line showerheads, having a shower that barely trickles out water — or having a toilet that barely flushes, or even a kitchen sink that takes forever to fill — can be frustrating.
There are many reasons to check out a unit’s water pressure, but it’s something a lot of people forget to do when touring apartments. Make sure to check the water pressure on cold, then hot, and then both, and see how long it takes to get warm.
Long gone are landline phones, as many of us now rely on our cell phones as our only means of communication. Whether it’s for work or personal use, being able to use your cell phone at home is extremely important. However, there are some apartment buildings that don’t have the greatest cell reception.
When you go to tour an apartment, check to see if you are able to get cell reception in every corner of every room. Otherwise, you’re sure to suffer the consequences of lost connections later on.
Believe it or not, a lot of apartments will have outlets that don’t work at all. This can be extremely frustrating when you go to use your hairdryer in the bathroom only to realize that the outlet doesn’t work. To do this, you can use a tool called a socket tester. Just plug it in and it will indicate whether or not the outlet is working.
It’s also a good idea to see how many outlets are in each room. Sometimes rooms will only have one outlet, and other times they can have one or more on each wall. Determine how many you think you’ll need and if there are enough.
Most apartments come with a fridge and stove. Some will also come with a dishwasher, or even a washer and dryer for your laundry. However, some apartments will require you to bring your own.
Check with the landlord to find out which appliances are included, whether or not there are hookups for any additional appliances (like a washer and dryer), and whether or not you’re allowed to bring your own. You should also find out if there are on-site laundry facilities and, if there are, where they’re located. Otherwise you might find yourself spending your Sunday afternoons at the local laundromat.
Make sure to check each appliance to see if it works.
When touring an apartment, check every exterior door to make sure that there are proper locks on them and that they all work. You might want to consider checking to see whether or not the doors have tight seals. If you will be responsible for paying your own utilities, know that a leaky door can cost you extra in utility bills.
Windows are just as important as doors, and the same things apply to both: make sure that they lock properly, have tight seals, and don’t have rips or holes in their screens (or you could end up with bugs in your apartment). While you’re at it, check the cardinal direction that each window faces.
One easy way to see how well a unit has been taken care of is to examine the outside of the apartment building and look around the various common spaces like the hallways, stairwells, lobbies, laundry facilities, storage rooms, parking lots, and courtyards. Dirty and rundown-looking buildings are usually pretty good indicators of poor management (and even a lack of etiquette between tenants).
Some apartment buildings offer additional storage space to their tenants in the form of a storage locker or a garage. If you have a lot of outdoor equipment like camping gear or even a bicycle, additional storage might be a must-have feature for you.
When you are touring an apartment, check to see that there is proper safety equipment, such as a smoke alarm, a carbon monoxide detector, and even a fire extinguisher on site. Landlords are usually required by law to provide these in each unit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are abiding by these laws. And of course, make sure they all work.
Proper lighting is very much appreciated, especially in the colder months when the sun sets earlier. Some rooms, like most living rooms, don’t even have ceiling lights. Light switches are another thing you should look for when touring an apartment. See which rooms having ceiling lights and make sure that each switch actually works. Some light switches are connected to specific outlets, so if you see a lightswitch and are not sure what it’s for, make sure you ask. And then, of course, there are buildings with poor wiring, in which you might come across a light switch that doesn’t seem to do anything at all.
Finally, be sure to check out the aesthetics on each unit you tour. Most people are concerned with how apartments look, but they don’t necessarily look all that close.
Make sure to keep an eye out for anything that looks out of the ordinary, like water damage, mold, and cracks. If there is minor damage, be sure to point it out. If you decide to move in, keep records of all existing damage so you don’t get blamed for it when you move out later on.