You’ve found yourself in a situation where you need a new living arrangement, and the next on your to-do list is locating an apartment to rent, what do you do? Take up your phone and scroll through several pictures online and that’s all? Well, the virtual experience of apartment tours is different from reality. You need to do more than just checking online.
Physically visiting the apartments will unfold details you’d have never thought of. It’ll give you insights that will define your next home.
Even when you’re familiar with the surrounding, never be so sure about the place until it checks all your boxes after doing the tour.
Often, people relocate or a new apartment is built creating vacancies that need to be filled. However, the fact that they’re new doesn’t qualify it to be your taste, that is why following through will tell the difference.
So what do you need during your apartment tour? A checklist is a perfect answer. Before moving out of your current premises, draft a list to use for your next house hunt. Go through every detail possible that matters to you.
If you have no idea how to come up with one don’t worry, this article will guide you through what to look for when renting an apartment checklist.
What To Look For When Renting An Apartment Checklist
A checklist is a no joke, it’ll define what your next home will look like. And it’s safe to say you wouldn’t want to mess up with that. Besides, it’ll keep you on your toes about the issue you need to address before moving to a new apartment.
Here is why you need to draft one before randomly picking an apartment to call your next home.
- You’ll be aware of all your options before and what exactly you want for your next house.
- It will save time when looking for an apartment.
- It’ll help you highlight small details you’re not comfortable with within an apartment before moving in which you can raise with the landlord right there.
- Often landlords wrongfully pin some damages on tenants and the best way to avoid that is to make them aware prior.
- It is also a way of safeguarding your security deposit that’s always collateral if you damage the property in the course of your stay. You wouldn’t want to mess up with your security deposit right?
What Do You Need When Touring Apartments?
A notebook and your phone will play a huge role when doing house hunting. Whenever you discover things you’re not okay with, you can note them down and share them with the landlord. Taking pictures is also a good way to keep records.
Share your concerns and as a way of ensuring you’re all on the same page before proceeding to sign a lease agreement later on.
Eager to know what’s on the checklist? Here we go.
● Know your budget
● Safety of the Apartment
● Plumbing is a Must Item on the List
● Are the Kitchen Appliances Good Shape?
● Are the Electrical Outlets Functional?
● Are you Comfortable with the Living Space?
● Is the Neighborhood Lifestyle Convenient for You?
● The signing of the Lease Agreement
Know Your Budget
What’s your expected rent budget for the next apartment? Do you want to scale up or down? Such questions will inform you of where you’ll search for apartments.
Based on your monthly income, decide the number of bedrooms you want, will it be one, two, or three bedrooms? If you’re a family person then naturally you’ll need more space compared to someone living on their own.
As terrible as it may sound, keeping up with math is never everyone’s daily cup of coffee. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for failing to budget. Good thing is that technology is at your disposal, use a rent calculator to define your sustainable rent based on monthly income.
A general 50-30-20 thumb rule will be ideal for your lifetime money plan.
What is the Meaning of the 50-30-20 Thumb Rule?
It’s a rule popularized by Elizabeth Warren that can help you manage your finances effectively.
For example with the rule in use, you’ll spend wisely based on your needs, wants, and savings.
● 50% Needs
This category includes everything you can’t live without including:
-Utility bills in general
● 30% Wants
This category includes everything you desire to do or spend on, it could be:
-Paying for online streaming services like Netflix or maybe,
-Partying with friends
● 20% Savings
This category falls on things like future investments or retirement plans. Besides, it’s here where you deal with outstanding debt.
Safety of the Apartment
However fast you need an apartment you can never overlook the safety of the apartment. Make sure you know the fire alarms and smoke detectors are functional before moving in. Check the carbon monoxide extinguishers are in place as well.
Look for red flags such as water leakages especially on ceilings and peeling paint. It’s a place many forget to check only to later find out their ceiling is leaking and messes up the whole house of all a sudden.
Does the apartment have security surveillance cameras installed? It’s important to check such and more so, why not do a background check of the place for any crime committed at the place within the last 3 years.
Armed with such information, you’ll be certain about any security of the place and feel safe which is good for your mental health. You don’t want to spend time living with the fear that someone will break into your room and take away valuable items.
Plumbing is a Must Item on the List
Check the water leaks if any especially around the toilet and under. Waking up in the morning only to be greeted by a strong smell from the toilet due to leaks isn’t something you’d want to experience.
Check for faucets if they shut off properly. How about the water pressure on the showers? Is it in good condition? It’s your chance to confirm while you have time.
Besides, check the hot water in the shower and whether it’s shared or your unit has a separate.
Are the Kitchen Appliances Good Shape?
The kitchen is one of the most visited rooms in the house and the last thing you wouldn’t want is to have problems with appliances. Conduct rigorous tests on appliances to make sure they meet your desires.
- Turn on and off the refrigerator and make sure it works well
- Make sure the laundry room is well maintained and the machine up to the task.
- Do the washer and dryer work to your satisfaction? Now’s the time to confirm that.
- How about the air conditioning system? Make sure they produce cold and heat efficiently.
Are the Electrical Outlets Functional?
Confirm if the electrical outlets in the rooms are functional. It’s a grave mistake to assume they work without testing. Such are some of the damages the property manager is likely to pin on you if you fail to check out with him before moving in.
This is also the time to check for the positioning of the outlets which mostly play a role in the arrangement in a room.
Besides, it does not harm to check if the lights are functional too.
Are you Comfortable with the Living Space?
A top concern will be the general space of the rooms in the unit. You want to live in a spacious place and not in a congested house that you’ll need to find storage for household items.
The living room mostly will be a place to keep an eye on since it’s the center of the house. Check the bedrooms as well if they are what you’d want.
How about the balcony? Is it big enough to hang out when you need fresh air? More so, do the doors and the windows locks work well? Open and close for confirmation. The first step to safety is checking the locks and making sure they pass your test.
Any doubts about the lock should be addressed immediately to avoid paying the price later. Think of losing your precious household items just because the door locks weren’t fixed, it isn’t worth it, right?
Is the Neighborhood Lifestyle Convenient for You?
What you call home goes beyond the door of your unit. You’d want to feel as comfortable outside as you do inside of your unit. The community around are part of your home and there’s nothing good as blending in fast without having a hard time.
Things to keep in mind while checking the apartment:
- The noise level at the apartment is something you’d want to be sure of. Is it a quiet place with a little destruction?
- How about the parking space? Does the management provide ample parking space for every unit? It may be a small thing but people do argue over a parking space.
- It is also good to check about guest visiting, what’s their arrangement? Apartments policies vary, make sure you’re comfortable with them before moving in.
- Check for amenities available around such as the gym or the pool.
- Is a pet accepted? What’s the pet policy? Is there any cost associated with a pet like a deposit?
The signing of the Lease Agreement
After everything has checked out now’s the time to have a look at the lease agreement going through every detail to be clear of the terms.
Generally, this is the binding document between you and the property manager, and only after you’ve signed that you’ll consider yourself part of the community.
Don’t be in a rush to sign if you can’t understand the terms in the document. As happy as you are for being on good terms with the landlord doesn’t mean the absence of conflict in the future. The only thing that will salvage you is the lease agreement.
Ask for help and clarification where you don’t understand. Here’s what to keep an eye on:
- The current rent rate of the unit.
- In case of late payment, what’s the grace period and the penalty?
- Does the unit come fully furnished?
- What’s the lease duration?
Take-Away Factors to Consider When House Hunting
- Location of the house – You’d want the apartment to be closer to your working place and school for your children. If you’re comfortable with any distance from your workplace then this shouldn’t be something to worry about.
- Social amenities proximity – things like a health facility are something you’ll want to keep in your plans. In a nutshell, staying close to where social amenities are available is advantageous.
The Bottom Line
If you notice something about the apartment, it’s only sound to raise concern early and make the property manager aware of it. At the end of the day armed with a drafted plan while house hunting makes a huge difference in your quest. It is worth it to draft one and stay organized.
Also, it’s wise to check several houses and make a list of units that meets your demands. Later on, you can cut down the list and choose the best to call your next home.