What questions should I ask before I rent an apartment?

Renting an apartment is a HUGE commitment. You’re putting parts of your life in the hands of others. There are tons of things you can’t control. And you’re committed for a year (usually). If you want out, you’re usually stuck. We want you to love your apartment. To ensure this happens we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line and rent an apartment. Whether it’s your first or your fifth, we’re sure these questions will help!

 

General Questions

  • How much will my rent be?
  • Do you need a security deposit? How much? What are the conditions on getting it back?
  • How long will my lease be?
  • Is there an application fee?
  • What is the penalty for terminating a lease early?
  • Where/how do you collect rent?
  • What is the penalty for late rent payment?
  • What kind of changes can I make to the apartment (painting, shelving, hanging pictures – with nails, command strips, etc.)

 

Added Costs

  • Which utilities are included and which do I have to pay for?
    • Some apartments pay for water, while you’ll pay electric. Some pay heat, but you’ll pay AC. It’s different everywhere. It’s important to know so you can budget.
  • Are their laundry facilities in the units, or on the property? Do these cost to use?
  • How is trash taken care of?
  • Are there any extra amenities (fitness center, business center, etc.)? Do these cost to use?
  • Are pets allowed? What kind of pets? How much is your pet deposit?
  • Am I required to use certain companies for cable, electric, etc., or can I shop around?

 

Parking

  • Is there parking at the apartment building?
  • Is it assigned, or first come first serve?
  • Can I buy a parking spot?
  • Where can my guests park?

 

Contact Info

  • Who would I contact if I have a problem?
  • How fast is maintenance?
  • How do I report a maintenance problem?
  • How do I report a maintenance emergency?
  • Is there an on-site office?
  • How are packages delivered?

 

Questions for Yourself

  • Do the office staff seem knowledgeable and friendly?
    • They’ll be the ones helping you with any issues that may arise. You need them to be knowledgeable to know what to do and friendly to want to help you.
  • How is the neighborhood? Is it safe?
  • How far will my drive to work be?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Does it have everything I’m looking for or do I just like it because ____?

 

Questions to Consider Asking a Potential Neighbor

  • How fast is the maintenance… really?
  • Is the maintenance knowledgeable at fixing whatever is wrong?
  • How quiet is the building?
  • How thick are the walls?
  • How cold do the units get in the winter?
  • How hot do the units get in the summer?
  • Can you hear your neighbors?
  • Is the neighborhood loud?
  • Is the office responsive?
  • Are there a lot of children in the building?
  • Are you happy living here?

This list seems pretty long but there are SO many more questions you could ask. Don’t be afraid! Asking questions is how you can ensure you’ll end up in a place you love. In case you’re dying for more questions, we’ve included links to 4 more great resources of questions to ask before you lease! And always remember, there’s no stupid question!

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