When you’re searching for a new apartment, it can be tempting to jump for the first place that catches your eye. But it’s important that you take your time, do your research and make sure that the rental is an all-around right choice — especially if you’re planning to live there for awhile. As you get ready to embark on apartment tours, don’t forget to consider these seven key items:
Depending on your personal needs, having businesses like grocery stores or restaurants nearby may be a factor in your decision, says Zillow. Don’t forget to explore the surrounding area to see what’s in walking distance or a short drive away. If you have kids, it may also be important for you to live nearby their school. Lastly, think about if you need public transportation access or prefer a short commute to work, says The Spruce.
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2. Quality of the Unit
When you’re walking through potential apartments, check out the quality of the interior, appliances and items like doors and windows, says Apartment Therapy. Do all of the windows open and close? Does the plumbing appear to be working properly? Test it out by flushing each toilet and turning on sinks to check for clogs. And, if appliances are included in the rental, inspect them to make sure they are in good condition.
It’s a good idea to check out the apartment complex’s security. For instance, see if there is a guard on duty or if there’s sufficient lighting around the grounds, says The Spruce. Do you need a key card to enter the apartment building? Consider elevator and stairwell access, too. Are the doors shut and locked, or are they left open for anyone to enter? The Spruce adds that it may even be a good idea to contact the local police department to learn about the area’s safety or recent crime.
When touring an apartment, take a moment to stop and listen. Can you hear noise from outside or a neighboring unit? Try to sit quietly for a few minutes with the windows open (and closed) during each walkthrough to pick up on any noise. While some noise you hear may not necessarily be a major deciding factor, it’s better to know how noisy the complex is up front, says Apartment Therapy. In addition, if the apartment allows dogs, keep in mind that you might hear barking from time to time.
Take a look at the apartment complex overall. The immediate appearance of the grounds should give you an idea of how well the facility keeps up with maintenance, or even what your neighbors may be like, says Apartment Therapy. Be sure to check out stairwells, hallways and onsite amenities (such as a pool or gym), as well. And, if you’re moving with pets, be sure to check out any pet-designated areas to see what they’re like.
6. Lease Details
While you may have found the perfect place, it’s important to read the fine print before signing a lease, Trulia says. While the apartment complex may offer amenities like covered parking or an onsite gym, will your monthly rent cover the cost of you using them? Then, think about the length of the lease. If the complex requires a one-year lease, but you only need it for 10 months, it may not be the right choice for you. You should also confirm if any utilities are included in the cost of your rent. You likely have a budget to stick to, and you should never assume a lease is all-inclusive, says Trulia.
If you have a car, consider whether the parking accommodations are what you want, recommends Zillow. Do you need a covered parking space or are you looking for assigned parking? You should also think about parking security — for example, would someone need a passcode or key fob to access the parking lot? Are there security cameras? These are all questions you should consider asking up front. Finally, if you plan to have visitors, inquire about guest parking and assess the street parking situation as well, says The Spruce.
Keep these seven things in mind as you tour potential apartments and take your time as you complete each walkthrough. It may help you find the right apartment for your needs so you can remain satisfied until the lease is up.