When touring an apartment, it’s important to take the time to carefully inspect the property to ensure that it meets your needs and that you are comfortable with the condition of the apartment. Before you begin your tour, it’s a good idea to create a checklist of the things you want to look for in an apartment. This could include the size of the apartment, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the condition of the appliances, and the overall cleanliness of the property. Having a checklist will help you to stay focused and ensure that you don’t miss anything important.
1. Do you get strong cell reception?
Make a call to test the building’s cell reception. Perhaps even consider doing a quick search for what internet providers work in that area and see if it’ll be enough for your digital needs. The last you want to encounter in a new home is realizing you only get good cell reception in the bathroom. Send a few texts, make a few calls, and test out the internet on your phone!
2. Check the surrounding location
When touring an apartment, it’s important to also take note of the neighborhood and the surrounding area. Consider the safety of the area, the proximity to schools, shops, and public transportation, and any other factors that may be important to you.
You may be laser-focused on finding a new address, but try and let your eye wander as you go check out a new place. Was it challenging to drive there or take public transportation? Are there lots of bars and fast-food joints? Is the apartment next to an intersection or bus stop?
If possible, visit this new place at different times of the day, but at the very least during a rush hour to see just how loud and wild the area gets.
Don’t forget to check what’s next door to your unit— whether it's another neighbor or the trash room.
3. Ask about maintenance or emergencies
No matter which apartment you choose, something will end up breaking at some point, and your building maintenance technician will have to come to fix it.
That could mean the maintenance staff must enter your apartment while you’re at work or asleep. For your safety and peace of mind, it’s good to know what sort of maintenance staff there is before you need their help.
4. Is the apartment in good condition?
As you tour the apartment, be on the lookout for any signs of damage or wear and tear. This could include holes in the walls, water stains on the ceiling, or broken appliances.
Check all doors and windows to see that they open and close and latch and lock.
Do exterior doors need door sweeps replaced? Are old windows painted shut or very drafty? None of these things are necessarily deal-breakers, but they could cost you a lot of money in the future when it comes to heating and cooling your place.
It's also worth checking all the unit's plumbing. Run the faucets and flush the toilets. Both will give you an indication of the state of the plumbing. If the toilet doesn’t flush well or runs very long, you could end up spending extra money on your water bill.
Check the shower — how’s the pressure? How long does it take for the hot water to heat up, and how’s the temperature? If you’re able to check the water heater, does it look okay, or does it look old and damaged? A worn-out water heater can significantly impact your shower temperature and water bill.
If you notice any issues, be sure to ask the landlord or property manager about them and how they will be addressed.
5. Are there signs of an infestation?
Some folks in big cities have resigned themselves to having to live with a certain level of vermin. For others, the thought of having to share your new space with something like mice or cockroaches is completely vile.
So, get thorough when you evaluate your potential new place. Bring a flashlight along to not only search corners, cabinets, and crevices for the bugs, and be sure to look for signs they’ve been there, like droppings, decay, or shedding.
6. Does appliances and electrical outlets seem safe?
If the apartment comes with appliances, such as a refrigerator or stove, be sure to check their condition during your tour. Make sure that they are clean and in good working order, and ask about their age and any warranties that may be in place.
Check to see if all the electrical works, but also look for any loose sockets or other indications of faulty wiring.
Make sure there are enough sockets in each room for the electronics you use. For instance, if you use a curling iron or hair dryer, make sure you have outlets where you need them in the bathroom.
It will also be worth your time to check if all the plugs are working. It's common to move into a unit with at least a few non-functioning plugs.
7. Check if you can comfortably work from home
Many employers are beginning to adopt permanent work-from-home policies. As a renter, that means a lot more time spent in your apartment.
If that’s your situation, take extra care to make sure your future space is suitable for remote work. Will you need a dedicated office space?
Do you have a partner or roommate who also works from home, and can you work in the same room? Is the overall environment quiet and distraction-free?
Ask the landlord about the gardening and landscaping schedule so you can avoid having your meetings interrupted by noisy leaf blowers.
8. Is the area noisy?
See if you can just sit in the middle of your bedroom at night (or if you’ll be working from home, the place where you might keep your office). Sit quietly and just listen.
Is the traffic noise pretty loud, or can you deal? Do you hear kids screaming, dogs barking, stompy neighbors, or loud music? How do you feel about the sirens from that nearby fire department?
Earplugs and noise-canceling headphones can do wonders, of course, but you’d rather not be surprised by loud noises after you sign the lease. You might not be able to hear everything in a short amount of time, but it should give you a slight idea of the noise levels of the place.
9. How is the commute?
If you live in a densely populated area, do a test run of your commute from the apartment to your job.
Either go during your usual commuting time or, if you have to go on a weekend, make a mental note of how much longer the drive would take during rush hour. Sometimes a route that looks relatively painless on Google Maps turns out to be more of a headache than expected.
10. What's the parking like?
This will only apply to those with cars. But, if you have a car, it's essential to check this point.
Is a parking spot included in your rent, or will you have to pay extra for it? Is it a covered spot, street parking, or in a secure garage? If you have guests, where will they park, and what will it cost?
Also, check to see if any disruptive events occur in the neighborhood and whether they will affect your parking arrangements.
We hope this apartment walkthrough checklist helps you out with your apartment hunting! By following these tips, you can make an informed decision about whether an apartment is right for you. If you're looking for help touring apartments, make sure to check out Lighthouse to earn cash back on rent.