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What You Should Do On an Apartment Tour

Updated on August 15, 2012

Know what you're getting before you get the keys to your home.

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Your First Apartment Tour

Once you've made an appointment with a leasing agent to see an apartment, it's easy to get excited. After all, you may be looking at your new home. However, this is only the beginning stage of renting your first apartment and it's important to keep emotions in check and be practical. After all, you will be spending a lot of hours in this place; you want it to be as exciting to live in as to look at.

As a leasing agent, I've seen the excited faces. And as a renter myself, I've been one. However, I've lived in some places I wish I hadn't while others have been like a paradise. Here are some tips on how to avoid the traps and find the treasure.

Plan to Ask Questions Before You Meet

Write down a list of questions before your scheduled apartment tour. Find out from others what kind of things to ask if you don't know. Here are some suggested questions that will help you decide if this is the right apartment for you.

1. How long is your lease? The standard answer is one year, but they may have variations.

2. Do you have an emergency number for maintenance issues? The answer should be yes.

3. What is your renewal process? Some apartments send out notices, while others expect you to take charge and tell them if you plan to renew your lease.

4. Can I sublease and what is your process? Unexpected things happen in life and you don't want to be stuck paying for an apartment if you can't live there for some reason.

5. Do you have a written list of rules that I can read? You want to find out if this is a place that fits your lifestyle before you sign the lease.

6. Do you have a policy on guests? Some places limit the amount of time you can have guests or expect you to alert them if you have overnight visitors.

7. What about parking? Some complexes require you to have a parking pass and visitors can only park in designated areas.

8. What are your amenities? This is one question you probably won't have to ask since the leasing agent will be anxious to win you over. If they don't tell you, you will want to find out.

9. Are utilties included? This will make a big difference on comparing the costs of more than one apartment since some will include at least partial utilties while others won't include any.

10. How much is the rent and when is it due? You will want to find out their late payment policy and how you will be paying the rent.

Do a Thorough Review On the Apartment Tour

Many leasing agents like to hurry you through your tour of the apartment. But take your time to look through every room. First, you will want to find out if this is a model apartment or the exact apartment you would be leasing. If it is a model apartment, you will likely only find out the design and basic look of the units. You will want to ask if all apartments are identical and if not, what are the differences.

As you go through the apartment, make note of what appliances are included in the kitchen and if they look new and updated or older. Cabinets will be easy to spot if they are dated.

Look at plumbing to see if the pipes look old or if they have been replaced. If you are touring the actual apartment you would be renting, turn on the faucets to see if there are any leaks. Flush the toilet and check the drains.

Turn on lights, open drawers and cabinets, and open closets. You want to see that things have been properly maintained. The apartment should also have clean carpets and a new paint job. Look up at the ceiling for any water leaks. Many apartment complexes do not paint the ceiling even when they paint the walls unless there has been a serious leak.

If you see anything that concerns you, address it immediately. Most apartment complexes want their units to be attractive and in good shape. Something may just have been an oversight, but you want to find out before you make a decision.

Don't Stop With One Apartment Tour

Always look at two apartments at the least so you have something to compare. This also prevents you from making a hasty decision on the first place you visit. Allow yourself time to think about your options in order to prevent buyer's remorse. This is one item you can't take back after you sign the lease.


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