Planning a move to a new apartment can be a stressful experience if you’ve not prepared for it. If you’re making a move, properly preparing for your apartment search is even more vital. Most of the time, prospective tenants focus too much on room sizes and rental prices without performing in-depth checks of potential properties. Below are 10 things to watch out for if you’re in the market for a new apartment.
1. Visit the apartment at different times of the day
Most property viewings happen in the middle of the day. Although this makes sense from the perspective of a real estate agent’s schedule, it won’t give potential tenants the most accurate impression of the neighbourhood they’re looking to relocate to.
If you’ve recently visited a property that you like during the day, schedule an evening visit. A seemingly safe neighbourhood may appear very different once the sun goes down.
2. Make friends with the neighbours
It’s never too early to make friends with the neighbours, even if you haven’t yet agreed to take on a lease for a new property. The average apartment building will be home to tenants that have lived there for varying lengths of time.
Tenants who’ve lived there for many years will be able to give you a realistic picture of the kind of living conditions you can expect. You can also get advice on things like building maintenance and landlord response times.
3. Is there adequate parking?
If you have your vehicle, having a parking space nearby is essential. Larger apartment complexes tend to include designated parking garages or lots, although they may not always provide enough spaces for every driver in the building.
If assigned parking is not an option, consider visiting the building throughout the day to determine how many other vehicles you’ll need to compete with when finding a parking spot.
4. Are there any issues with the power?
A reliable power supply is a must for any rental property. When viewing an apartment for the first time, bring along something that you can plug into every wall socket to ensure they are working correctly.
This can be something as simple as a charger for your smartphone. It’s also important to test the lights within a property. Blown bulbs are easy to remedy, but electrical rewiring is a different matter entirely.
5. Do the appliances work?
Many leased apartments come with white goods and other appliances included. Not having to budget for a new stove or refrigerator can help minimize your moving expenses, but you’ll want to ensure they work before your move-in date.
Some rental agreements will stipulate that the landlord is responsible for covering the cost of repairs and replacements, but at other times the tenant will have to cover these expenses.
6. Plumbing and heating
Plumbing is something that is often overlooked by rental tenants. However, testing out water pressure and hot water temperatures is easy to do.
Running a kitchen or bathroom faucet for a few seconds will give you a quick indication of the kind of water pressure you can expect. It’s also worth taking the time to inspect shower performance.
7. Internet connectivity and cell phone coverage
Internet connection is an essential service that many of us can’t live without. Most apartment buildings will provide connectivity for broadband connection, while others may offer access to wireless networks as part of a rental package.
Phone reception is another thing to bear in mind when moving into an apartment. If you have your eye on an apartment on a lower floor, you may find yourself having to deal with relatively poor reception.
8. Any signs of pests?
A significant issue facing tenants in apartment buildings is pests. It only takes one or two unsanitary neighbours to cause an infestation throughout an entire complex. If there’s an existing pest control problem, the lease should mention it. However, it’s worth keeping your eyes out for telltale signs like rodent droppings and gnawed baseboards.
9. Make a note of any issues
Although first impressions are important when it comes to renting a home, many landlords fail to address cosmetic and maintenance issues before putting their properties on the market. Before you sign a lease on a rental property, make sure you take the time to document each issue you come across. When it comes to moving on, you can use this as evidence that you aren’t liable for certain damages.
10. Review the lease thoroughly before you sign
This may seem like an obvious one, but many tenants fail to read rental agreements in full before signing a lease. A lease will define rules on subletting, outline what changes you can make to a property, and more. If you plan on seeing your safety deposit returned to you, you’ll want to spend some time getting intimately acquainted with the lease agreement.
Ready to Make the Move?
Provided you follow all of the advice outlined above, you should have no trouble finding a first-rate apartment to call your new home. Although carrying out an in-depth inspection of an apartment can seem arduous, it’s essential if you want to save yourself stress down the line. What’s more, it can help you protect your security deposit and save you from having to part with your hard-earned cash to remedy issues that you’re not responsible for.