I'm looking at renting an apartment. What are some questions to ask? Any tips? Thanks!
Are you going to be staying in the area that you live in now, or will you be moving to a completely different city?
If you've got friends who rent, ask them for some recommendations. Be sure to call a lot of the apartments in the area of where you're looking to ask for prices. Also, take some tours!
This website was a real lifesaver while we were trying to find a new apartment/condo for my dad:
As for questions to ask during the tour/interview:
1. Lease Terms - how long? How much is the deposit? What does the deposit cover?
2. Maintenance: Who, when, and how to contact the M staff. Are they available 24/7 or only between specific hours?
3. Amenities: Who has access to all of the amenities (pool, laundry facilities, gym, etc)?
4. Pet policy, in case you have housepets
5. Rent increases, company changes (who runs the complex), etc
I will moving to a different city. I am familiar with the city because I went to school there, but have stayed on campus.
^^ great post! I used http://www.apartmentratings.com/ as well. Might also check police reports in the area you're considering moving to (the property mgr may cover up stuff, sorry). But now I just read that you're familiar with the area since you went to school there, so you should probably have a feel for it. Can anyone walk up to your unit or is there a security phone to call first? Does that matter? Make sure you know what your tolerance is there.
Also, when touring the units, look inside cabinets, turn lights on and off, faucets, flush toilets. Sounds silly but you get a good idea of basic stuff like water pressure (or lack thereof).
make sure you can view the unit that you are renting prior to signing a lease. sometimes they just show you a model, if the unit you are renting is currently occupied.
ask in advance what they typically hold out for cleaning of the unit and carpeting
ask what their lease break policy is, should you realize that your neighbors are unbearable
see your parking spot before leasing, make sure it is in a place that you consider safe
Thanks these are all great suggestions!
Also find out if you have a reserved parking spot, and what type of security they have.
Opps, pursegirrl already mentioned security.
especially if you're near a college, cruise through the complex both on a week night and a weekend night. a week night will show you if they have adequate parking for the number of residents, how quiet the complex is on the average, and if it seems shady in general. a weekend night will show you if it's a party-friendly complex (which may be good or bad depending on your habits), how noisy it gets at worst, and how lenient the landlord/management company is.
i'm moving off-campus for the first time in about a month, and my roommate and i used apartmentratings.com to find the complex (we're in a college town, so there's a million complexes, each with a different personality) and then visited several times at different times of day and night to see what the climate of the complex was like. what we saw seemed to support the excellent ratings, so we signed a lease and we can't wait to move in!
Ask what utilities are included in your rent. We found that some bldgs even included basic cable along with water, electricity, gas... while others included no utilities what so ever.
Is there air conditioning... I guess that isn't an issue in all cities, in college every building had airconditioning, but in Chicago it is never to be assumed that it is in unit.
Laundry - in unit or is there a larger facility in the building or are you expected to use a laundromat/outside facilities?
as an apartment Owner, these are all good questions for you to ask. Tips from me: During the application process always be sure to return calls right away; be honest answering all questions; have your checkbook (or money order) on hand for those first deposits so the landlord knows you're serious and can afford the rent; be early for all appointments/meetings.
I'm always amazed at people who say they just "love" and "have to have" an appartment, but then try to show up 30 mins late for a showing. It says a lot about character. If someone doesn't call me back about something missing on an application, that just means they will probably be avoiding me when I call them becuase they haven't paid the rent by the 5th of the month.
If you're looking at an apartment complex, ask about resident retention-how many residents stay after their first term lease with the place. If they have a high retention rate-that shows it's a good place to live, people are liking it there & signing a new lease.
If there's a low retention, you'll want to ask why. What's making people move after one lease?