When looking for a new place, it’s essential to ask the right questions at an apartment showing. We’ve hosted plenty of showings, and know exactly what questions are relevant to finding a new home. We even put together a free, downloadable guide of what to ask through the entire apartment hunting process. For now, though, let’s focus on questions to ask at an apartment showing.
Terms of the Lease
Before falling in love with a place, you’ll want to be sure you can truly commit to it. Review the listing and if there is any confusion about the lease’s terms, ask before you sign. It’s better to clear confusion before committing. Understand your budget, what you can afford, and for how long. A year lease is typical, and if you’re looking for less than that, be transparent about that fact. You may be able to find some last minute situations of people needing a subletter. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a longer term living situation and wish to sign a longer lease, talk with the landlord or leasing agent, and see if what opportunities lie there.
While at the Apartment Showing
There are some practical questions pertaining to the apartments you’ll want to ask at a showing including basic questions about the space, like what is the water pressure like and if the sockets work (don’t be afraid to try them when you’re at the property).
You should inquire about amenities like laundry and AC, heating, etc. Will you need to install window units? Is laundry in the unit itself, the building, or will you need to use a nearby laundromat?
It’s good to get clear on parking and whether it’s garage or street, permit or non-permit. This will affect your day to day life, and can sometimes be a hassle if you aren’t expecting it.
It’s a good idea to ask about the other tenants who are in the building – how long have they been there? What are they like? The leasing agent might not be able to give you much information, but there’s nothing wrong with knocking on people’s doors and introducing yourself. If you decide to move into this apartment, they’ll be your neighbors.
Know for certain what the pet policy is, and if you have pets, be transparent. It’s better to feel comfortable and at home with the place you’re living than wary of being kicked out or fined for having a pet.
Before you move into a place, it would be wise to know how maintenance requests are handled, as well as emergency requests, like a pipe bursting. This is another example where getting feedback from people who have rented from the company in the past, or have worked with them, know what it’s truly like to receive service from them.
Similar to this, ask what circumstances your landlord would be entering your unit – maintenance requests, unit inspections, etc. It’s good to understand how much they respect your privacy.
Finally, it’s important to understand their processes for finances, how your rent payments would be processed, and what their standards are for late fees. They might have an online portal, or they expect to be paid by check or Paypal. Make sure you’re clear and comfortable beforehand. Know if the rent includes utilities and if some, then which you’re required to cover. It’s also good to know under what circumstances that a security deposit would not be given back. Some companies are really particular about damages, while others take turnover costs into account on their end.
After the showing
If it’s a company of a certain size, they will likely have an online presence – search for reviews from former tenants and research what other people say about this company.