Last Updated on October 8, 2022

It’s easy to be lured by attractive photographs and a list of amenities when you’re apartment hunting. But unless you view the apartment and ask the right questions upfront, you won’t know what to expect when moving into your new home. As the landlord or property manager shows you the space, ask plenty of questions when touring an apartment to ensure it’s a good fit for your needs. 

What to ask when touring an apartment

1. How much is the monthly rent, security deposit, and move-in fee?

Get a good idea of what it will cost you to move in and pay your rent every month. Does the landlord require first and last month’s rent as a security deposit? Is there a separate move-in fee as well? You should also ask when rent is due, if there is a grace period, and what late fees will be assessed if you don’t pay on time. And see if you can find out if there are plans for future rent increases.

2. Are any utilities included? 

Ask if the rent includes any utilities, such as gas or electricity. If you’ll be responsible for paying the utilities yourself, find out which service providers you’ll need to contact to set up the utilities in your name. 

3. What are the lease terms and what happens if I break my lease?

Before touring an apartment, ask how long you’ll be required to stay in the apartment once you sign the lease agreement. Then, ask about what would happen if you needed to move out before that time. Would there be a monetary penalty, or would the property manager be willing to allow it in certain situations? 

Also, ask what will happen when it’s time for lease renewal. Will you be able to continue on a month-to-month lease? If the lease terms aren’t to your liking, negotiating the lease may be a possibility. As you go over the lease agreement with your landlord, review these questions to ask when signing a lease

4. Can I sublet my apartment?

Whether you think you might move out early or you want to travel while living in your new apartment, ask about subletting. Is it allowed and what permissions do you need before you can go ahead with it? Some landlords may allow subletting, but may prefer to find and screen the short-term tenant themselves. 

5. Is renters insurance required?

One of the important questions to ask is whether you’ll need a renters insurance policy. Renters insurance is typically affordable, but it is extra money every month on top of your rent payments, so you should be prepared to account for it in your budget. 

6. Who is the property manager and how do I submit maintenance requests?

Get the name of the management company and research online reviews before touring an apartment. You should also ask how they handle emergency repairs at their apartment complexes. Evaluate whether the process seems straightforward and whether maintenance services are readily accessible. 

7. What is the apartment community’s guest policy? 

Find out what would happen if a friend came to stay for a week or longer. While most apartment communities allow guests, some place limits on how long they can stay. You should know how the process works for longer visits. 

8. What is the pet policy and are there pet fees?

Ask whether the apartment community is pet-friendly and if there are additional costs to have a pet in your new home. Some landlords may charge pet rent or higher rent prices, while others may require a one-time pet fee or refundable pet deposit. Make sure you can afford to keep your furry friend with you in the apartment. 

9. What are the community rules and what would result in eviction?

Before you go touring an apartment, make sure you understand the apartment building’s policies, especially if this is your first rental home. You could get evicted for defaulting on your rent, but are there other behaviors that could get you thrown out? For example, ask about the noise policy and smoking policy. 

10. Where is parking for the building?

Ask about the parking situation. Is there a parking garage or parking lot? If so, ask to see it on your apartment tour. If there’s only street parking, make sure you check back at a couple of different times during the day to make sure there are spots available. 

11. What is the application process and application fee?

Once you’re ready to take the next steps, ask how quickly you’ll need to submit your rental application and what rental application questions may be asked. Also, find out about the application fee and what forms of payment are accepted. 

What should you look for while touring an apartment?

Renting an apartment without touring it can put you at a disadvantage. That’s because seeing the apartment complex in person allows you to check on issues that may impact your quality of life in your new home. Here’s how to tour an apartment and look for potential red flags. 

viewing an apartment

Grounds and exterior maintenance

When you’re touring an apartment, check to make sure the complex looks well taken care of. Neglected grounds and deteriorating exteriors are red flags that the building is not being properly maintained. 

Pest issues

Ask if there has ever been an infestation of bed bugs and what the property manager did to remediate the issue. Check for rodents, roaches, and other pest problems as well. 

Proximity of amenities

Your new apartment may come with a lot of perks, but are they accessible to you? Check how far away the laundry room is from your apartment and whether you can get a parking spot close by, for example.

Safety of the building and neighborhood

If it’s your first time in the area where you’re touring an apartment, make sure you would feel comfortable walking around the neighborhood alone. You may need to visit the building at night to get an accurate sense of the safety of the neighborhood. 

Water pressure, appliances, and outlets

Check the water pressure and temperature, make sure the appliances are functional, and test the outlets with your phone charger. 

Cell phone reception and Wi-Fi

Place a phone call from the apartment to test the reception. And ask if there’s reliable internet available, especially if you’ll be working remotely. 

Let Dwellsy help you find your next apartment

Apartment hunting doesn’t have to be a headache. Dwellsy can help you narrow down your options, so you only have to tour apartments that meet your criteria. With over 13 million homes in one place and robust filters to make your apartment search easier, Dwellsy is your one-stop shop for apartments. Find your next home today.

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