When starting the search for a new apartment, many potential renters are overwhelmed by all of the choices available. It’s hard to narrow down the search, but there are a few simple questions that can be asked at each stage of the process that can help.
Beginning the Apartment Search
The first set of questions potential apartment dwellers should ask are directed at themselves. Answering these questions before beginning an apartment search can make certain that no time is wasted looking at apartments that just aren’t right:
Where is the apartment located? – Some people want to live close to work, others prefer to live in a downtown or suburban setting. The proximity to grocery stores, transportation options, schools and entertainment venues have different levels of importance to different people.
What amenities does it have? – If the potential renter has his heart set on hardwood floors or a washing machine, it’s important to ask questions about these items before scheduling to look at an apartment. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if someone looks at a two-bedroom one-bath apartment when they really need two bathrooms.
What is the condition of the property? – We don’t want a dank musty place that needs full redecoration even if we can do it cheaply – it’s not our own property to invest in, but then there’s a twist, there’s a fair chance making a place good can save a lot in rent each month. You could make a chart or tick list of required work and determine the value of making the redecoration good yourself. Instead we could create lovely open natural spaces, set out with natural plants and lighting if possible.
What to Look For During the Apartment Hunt
Asking the right questions during the apartment hunt can help narrow down the options. Here are a few questions for apartment hunters to ask when looking at apartments:
What does it look like in daylight? – Examining the apartment during the day is a better choice than only searching after-hours. In daylight, potential renters can see the actual condition of the interior and exterior and can get a good idea of how much natural light each room receives.
Is there enough storage space? – The potential renter should consider how much storage they need in each room. Some people store few items in the bedroom, but need lots of storage in the bathroom or kitchen. Others prefer hall closets or lots of bookshelves.
Are there enough electrical outlets, light fixtures, cable and internet access points, etc? – The apartment hunter will want to take into account how they use appliances and make sure the new apartment has enough connections for all of their equipment.
How is the electricity, water and temperature? – Asking the landlord about the electricity, water and temperature control can save problems in the long run. Potential renters should also check things like water pressure, who pays for heating and the size of the hot water tank.
What about the outside area? – We should be looking to maximise our comfort with some really nice outdoor areas. It’s a rented apartment – that’s doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay close attention to what space we have available outside.
Questions Before Signing the Lease
Before signing a lease, the future tenant should ask a few more questions to be sure that everything is included that needs to be. Here are some of the things the renter and landlord should discuss before the final contract is signed:
What deposits are required? – The typical deposit is one to two months rent, but there can be additional deposits for pets, furnished apartments or a parking space. We also want to know that our deposit is insurance backed or guaranteed and by what body. Nothing worse than a fight to get your money back after looking after someones property nicely for 12 months or more.
What’s covered under wear and tear? – The renter should make a thorough inspection of the apartment so they don’t risk losing their deposit when they leave. They should also confirm with the landlord that they won’t be responsible for normal wear and tear or repairs. You should also take picture of any damage before moving furniture in so that there can be no quibbling previous damage to goods. The image shown looks pretty rustic but the apartments in overall good condition.
When is the move-in date? – If there are tenants currently living in the apartment, the landlord should specify the date when they will vacate and the date when the new tenant can move in. The new renter should also clarify whether they, the landlord or the former tenant are responsible for cleaning between rentals.
Clarifying the answers to these questions before the potential renter moves into a new apartment can save problems down the road and is a good start for an apartment hunt.