When you walk into a new space that you’re certain is destined to be yours, there are some things you need to look for before renting an apartment. They may seem like little things that don’t matter and, for the most part, go unnoticed, but once you’re moved in and living the dream, these little things can cause big problems.
Big problems can cost big cash.
To avoid spending needless dollars or pulling your hair out once you’ve moved in, here are 9 unspoken things to look for before renting an apartment:
1. Check for Mold
Mold is a sneaky thing. For many, exposure to mold can cause bronchial health issues or skin irritation.
While you’re taking the tour with your soon-to-be landlord, take a look at the walls and baseboards in the bathroom and basement. Check all of the walls in every room, really. If the apartment is in a place that tends to be damp, mold could be an issue just about anywhere.
2. Confirm Parking
Whether you’re renting a house or in a complex, you need to know where to park your vehicle that is legal and safe.
Ask the property owner if the driveway or parking lot has a designated spot for you. If not, what are the rules as far as street parking? Make sure you confirm that your car has a safe place to sleep at night.
3. Check Every Outlet in The Apartment
Some apartment buildings are decades old. Others are born from the rehabilitation of larger homes turned into bungalow spaces. If this is the case, you may discover that not every room has an outlet.
You may also notice that some outlets don’t work.
Pick up an Electric Receptacle Wall Plug AC for under $10 bucks and check the status of each outlet in the apartment. Do they work? What happens if you have two things plugged into the outlet? Does the outlet overload?
The last thing you want is to create a fire hazard by stringing various extension cords from one room to another. If you prefer to live in the dark, well, a shortage of outlets might work well for you.
4. Check The Internet Connection
We live in the digital age. If you rely on a strong Internet connection for work or school, bring your phone along and make sure the apartment has one.
Ask your landlord if Wi-Fi is included, too.
Depending on your cell phone plan, you may burn data if there is no Wi-Fi. Over 80% of property managers list Wi-Fi as a primary amenity today, so that’s the good news. You still want to check and see if the property manager is part of this statistic. If not, talk to him or her about including it in the rent or possibly reducing rent so that you can bring in a router.
5. Ask About Pets
If you’re renting a space that doesn’t allow pets, this may be good news if you’re allergic. But it’s still smart to ask if there were pets in the dwelling before you.
If you learn that a previous tenant had cats or dogs, ask the landlord to have the rugs cleaned for allergens. Just because there are no pets allowed in there now, doesn’t mean there were never any before.
6. Look Closely at the Windows
You need to feel safe in your apartment. The doors may lock, but do the windows? If they look unsecure or shoddy, think twice about renting, especially if you’re not sure what kind of neighborhood you’re moving into.
Take a moment to check every window. If a few seem unsecure, ask the landlord or property manager to have them fixed before you move in. This includes broken locks, shattered glass, or missing screens.
Also, check the view from each window. Does a blinding, neon sign stare back at you? Or maybe a super close neighbor? We all want privacy and peace. Make sure your new apartment affords you this.
7. Locate the Utility Meter
If utilities aren’t included in the rent, find out where the meters are located in the apartment. If you’re going to be responsible for heat and electric, you’re going to want to monitor your usage.
If they’re located on the outside of the building, find out which meter is connected to your dwelling.
8. Note Any Furniture/Appliances
Some apartments come with furniture and appliances already. It’s important that you note what is yours and what isn’t. This way, if you are accused of any damages, you can be clear with the property owner that the damages were on your own property and not theirs.
Also note any furniture that might be in storage areas when you move in. Some landlords may try and make you financially responsible for the removal or storage of such property. Play it safe and keep your records straight.
9. Who Pays for Repairs?
It seems small, but when it comes to accidental damages, who should be responsible for paying? Some property owners will ask that you pay and simply deduct it from your next months rent. Others will send in a property manager to fix the issue.
Find out what the protocol is and make sure it’s clear in your contract. The last thing you want is to be stuck fixing a sink or tub that cost you hundreds, only to be told you won’t be reimbursed.
You want to make sure your new pad is safe, solid, and will keep you warm without breaking the bank. You also want to make sure you’re crystal clear on what your lease agreement states.
Take a peek at our post, What to Watch Out for When You Sign a Lease Agreement. It never hurts to be clear and concise. After all, this is going to be your dwelling for a while. Why not make sure it’s exactly what you need?