Renting an apartment is a big decision and usually requires a year-long commitment, so you want to be sure you’re making the right decision. Before you sign a lease or put any money down, make sure you have asked the right questions and thought about every aspect of the apartment — since it will be your home for the foreseeable future!
Here are some of the questions you should ask before deciding on an apartment:
What Is Included with Rent?
Sometimes, utilities like Wi-Fi, cable, gas, water, garbage and electricity are covered in your monthly rent payment. Other times, these come as separate bills — which means you’re paying more per month than you originally may have thought. Find out what is covered with your rent and what other bills you should be expecting. You can then factor these expenses into your budget.
What Does the Lease Mean?
The lease you will sign might be hard to understand, so it is important to go through it with the landlord or real estate professional to make sure you are both on the same page. Find out about the security deposit, what happens if you pay late, how likely it is that the rent will go up, exactly how long the lease is for, etc. Know what you are signing before you sign it.
Are Pets and/or Guests Allowed?
If you have a pet, you’ll obviously want to bring him with you! Find out if your landlord allows pets and also if they require a pet deposit or raise the rent for pets. You’ll also want to ask if you are allowed to have guests. Usually, this shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s definitely something you’ll want to know about ahead of time.
What Is the Procedure for Emergencies?
For things like burst water pipes, flooded toilets and broken air conditioners, you want to know how to go about fixing them. Ask about who covers the charges for the repairs, who actually does the repairs and how to report these things when they happen. Find out if there is a 24/7 phone number you can call in case of emergency to put your mind at ease.
How Safe Is the Area/Building?
This will be your home, so feeling safe is a priority. Ask the landlord and also your potential neighbors about how safe they feel. Is there a police station nearby? Are there fire extinguishers in the building? Is the building monitored with security cameras? All of these questions can help you decide whether or not you’d feel safe living in that apartment.
Is There Adequate Parking?
Is there a parking lot for the complex, or will you be searching for street parking? Are there assigned spots, or is it a free-for-all?
You may not think about it until you have to deal with it, but having adequate parking —especially if it’s a parking lot — is huge. That way, you aren’t having to park far away or pay extra for parking. Bonus if there are assigned spaces, too — you won’t have to worry about driving around late at night searching for a spot.
Can I Decorate?
If you like to decorate, this is definitely something you want to discuss with your prospective landlord. Will they allow you to paint or hang items from the walls? How much freedom do you have over your apartment? This might not affect your decision greatly, but it’s a good thing to know.
How Is the Neighborhood?
Spend some time looking around the area. Is there a grocery store or pharmacy nearby? Are there a lot of kids? Can you walk around or do you have to drive? Finding an apartment in an area you like is ideal. You want to enjoy where you reside!
Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have. Remember the rule you learned in elementary school: There is no such thing as a stupid question. This is where you will be living and spending every day, so ask away!
Image via the Glam Pad