Going apartment hunting can be excited although nerve-racking at the same time. You’re looking for a place to call home! You want to be able to find a place where you feel comfortable and safe to live.
Not sure where to start? Here are some helpful apartment searching tips, plus 7 questions to ask your potential landlord!
Helpful Apartment Hunting Tips
1. Decide on a Budget
Living in a place you can’t afford will add on a lot of financial stress and worries. You want to find a place where you can afford rent monthly, and your other expenses.
Zumper has a Rent Calculator that you can use to see with your income what amount of monthly rent you can afford. If you find that the cost of renting is too much for yourself, you can always find a roommate!
To know more about what else needs to be done prior to moving out, you can check out our latest post on 10 Things To Do Before Getting an Apartment.
2. Decide on Your Apartment Amenities
You may want a pen and paper for this. Create two columns. One side is listed ‘wants’ and the other side is listed ‘needs’. This is where you will be creating your want and needs list for all the apartment amenities that will make your living arrangement comfortable.
What are things that you want inside your apartment? It could be an island table, two bedrooms, lots of counter space, ensuite laundry.
Let’s talk about what are the things that you need? Do you need to be close to public transportation? Within a mile radius to work? Or be close to entertainment?
Everyone’s wants/needs list will be different. As long as it’s close to what you are looking for. Some apartments may not check off everything on your list. It’ll be good to get at least 50%-60% of your wants.
3. Know The Requirements of Renting in Your Area
Some areas have certain requirements that you need to rent out an apartment. This could be age limit, income status, credit score, and more.
You want to take the time to research this information prior to looking at apartments. You don’t want to be looking at this amazing apartment and the age requirement is 25.
Is your credit score is a bit low? Here are 6 Ways On How To Improve Your Credit Score! That can help you increase your chances of your rental application being approved.
4. Prepare All Of Your Documents
Having all of your documents ready for a potential landlord shows that you are organized and serious about the apartment.
The documents a landlord may ask for are; credit history, the status of income, last few pay stubs, and identification.
5. Prepare Questions
Never be afraid to ask questions. You’re going to be signing a legal contract to live in this unit. It’s okay to ask a gazillion questions during a viewing.
It’s best if you have a set of questions typed and saved aside for each apartment you go to. This will be great to compare each place you go to after apartment hunting.
6. Read The Lease Carefully
Make sure you take the time to read your entire lease carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra time. This is a legal contract between you and the landlord, confirming that you will be following these rules and regulations.
Your lease will include if you can paint the walls in your apartment, what’s included in the rent, what happens if you break your lease early. so much information is included in your lease that you want to be notified on everything.
Remember to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. In addition, receive the copy in writing and with everyone’s signatures included!
Questions To Ask in A New Apartment Showing
Now that we went over the tips about apartment hunting, and what to look for. Here are some questions that you can ask while attending a showing. These are common questions people ask. You can ask your own questions during your showing as well.
1. The Cost Of The Monthly Rent and What’s Included
Ask about the cost of rent and what is included in the price. Some apartment buildings included hydro water, parking, or if you’re lucky internet.
2. Ask About Parking
One thing I wished my fiance and I asked about was parking. Yes, the apartment complex included parking although not enough. Make sure you ask about the cost of parking per month.
3. Pet Policy
What is their pet policy? Do you have to pay an extra fee for having a pet in your apartment? Some places even want you to have pet insurance!
While apartment hunting you want to make sure that any apartment you go to accommodates pets in their lease. Recently you’ll find it easier now that a lot of apartment complexes are pet-friendly.
4. Apartment Security
Do they have security cameras set up? If a break-in and entry happen to your car are you able to get access to the security footage? You want to feel safe in a place that you live in.
You may also want to research the city and/or area’s crime rate. In addition, the common crimes that happen in the area. This should also be considered in your apartment decision-making.
5. What are the Amenities Included?
Similar to what we discussed earlier. While the landlord is discussing the amenities that are included in the unit and also around the building. This can include; pool facilities, gym access, common areas/party rooms, and more.
Write down all of the amenities they have and cross-check it with your wants/needs list. Remember to aim for at least 50% of the amenities on your list!
6. Garbage Disposal
How does the apartment run garbage disposal? Do they have a room where a garbage chute is located? Or have a garbage service, where you leave your garbage bin outside your front door, and someone collects it (This is actually a thing!) Or do you have to take it outside to a large garbage bin?
If you focus on recycling then ask them if they offer recycling bins for residents to use.
7. Security Deposits, & Extra Fees
Another common question you can ask is how much is the security deposit?
You will also want to ask if there are any extra fees. For example, if you live in an apartment complex where there is a laundry room. you may be offered a loadable card to use to pay for your laundry. Often you will be charged a small fee for attaining that card.
Some other fees can include turning on utilities and the new move-in fee. Overall it just depends on the property management.
8. Move in Date
What date are you expected to move in? Is there a certain time you have to move into your apartment? Can you book a time slot to use the elevator?
These questions are important to ask your landlord just so you are both on the same page on moving day. If you need a checklist on what to do a month before moving, here is a checklist for Things To Do 30 Days Prior to Moving Day!