Apartment hunting can feel overwhelming, and when there is so much to consider, it’s hard to determine where to start. Touring a new space is a crucial step before signing a lease, and if available to do so, you should almost always tour in person. While you may have seen a dozen photos or experienced a 360 virtual tour, there are some things that a camera will not pick up. Visiting your potential new home can be exciting and offer you a peak into what it might be like to inhabit that space and ensure that it is secure and in good livable condition. As property managers, Utopia Management help people find apartments daily and know exactly what to highlight to pay attention to. Here’s some of their advice and a checklist of what to look for and ask about when touring an apartment for the first time.
General Things to Look For
These are some general items to check off your list for each room, and important ones at that. An issue with any one of these should be brought to the attention of the property manager before any further decisions are made.
- Check for any water damage, mildew or mold (look at all flors, walls and ceilings)
- Ensure that all doors and windows open and close smoothly and lock securely.
- Make sure that each room has power and that the outlets work. Bring something small like a phone charger to test each outlet.
- Test all smoke alarms and inquire whether or not the unit has a sprinkler system.
- Check that all light switches function
- Assess the access to the unit. Is it on the ground floor or the sixth? Is there an elevator or just stairs?
- Your front door should come equipped with a deadbolt or chain for security. If not, ensure that it is okay to install one yourself.
- Test out how the sound carries throughout the space. If you can hear the traffic on the street or your neighbor;s music, this may be an issue to some people.
- Consider where your windows look out. If they open up to an outdoor stairwell or hallway, keeping the blinds open may not offer the most privacy.
- Measure the space. You don’t want to sign the lease only to find out that your couch and coffee table are too big to fit in the living room.
- Turn on each of the appliances to ensure that they function as intended. Open up the refrigerator and check the temperature to ensure that both the fridge and the freezer are cold enough.
- Run the faucet for both cold and hot to ensure that temperature reaches each and check that the water pressure is sufficient.
- Open every cabinet and make sure they are functional and check the insides for debris that could be indicative of a pest problem.
- Check out the closet (if there is one). Technically, to be considered a bedroom, there must be a window and a closet space with a door. If the room comes without a closet, measure the room dimensions to ensure you can fit a wardrobe or dresser in addition to the rest of your bedroom furniture.
- As mentioned above in the living space, check out the view from the bedroom window. This is probably where you’ll require the most privacy, and you don’t want your bedroom eye level with the parking lot or hallway where people are coming and going.
- If the unit does not come equipped with central air, check for a window AC unit or ask if you can install one in the bedroom. You’ll also want to ensure that the ceiling fan functions on each speed and that it is securing installed while running on top speed.
- Run any and all faucets (tub, shower head, sink, etc.) to make sure the hot water gets hot and cold water gets cold. Check on adequate pressure and that the water runs clear.
- Flush the toilet a couple of times to make sure the tank doesn’t run and that it functions properly.
- Check out beneath the sink for any leaks, mold or water damage indicative of leaks.
- Ask about replacing the shower head with your own if you wish to upgrade.
Amenities and Complex
- Always take a tour of the additional amenities that may be offered with the unit. If there is a pool, ask how often it’s cleaned and if you can invite guests. If there is a gym, take a tour and ensure that the equipment is secure, clean and safe to use.
- Check out where your mailbox is how outgoing mail is handled. Ask about packages and how they can be securely delivered if you’re not home.
- You can get a good idea of how the unit and complex is managed by the looks of the building as a whole. Are all of the hallways sufficiently lit and clear of garbage or debris?
- If applicable, are security gates or elevators in functioning order. Does it feel unmamanged or unkempt?
Neighborhood and Community
- Check out your surroundings and how accessible destinations are. If you don’t have a car and rely on public transportation, make sure the subway or bus station is close by. It might also benefit you to have a laundromat down the road if your potential new home isn’t equipped with an in unit setup.
- If you have a car or multiple, ask about parking. Will you have to rely on street parking or do you have an assigned space?
- Check out noise levels of the area. Are you located in the heart of downtown where sirens and street noise from crowds will leak into your apartment? This may bother some people, for other’s the sounds of the city is part of the charm.
- Ask around! If you happen upon a neighbor or someone who lives in the area, ask about their opinion of the building and the area. This will give you insight as to what it is like to live there.
Once the tour has concluded, you may wish to move forward in the leasing process, so consider bringing any necessary documents already filled out, your photo ID, a few work paystubs, and your checkbook. It also doesn’t hurt to bring a friend or family member as a second pair of eyes to assist you throughout the tour.