Renting an Apartment – 5 Things to Do Before Signing a Lease

Are you looking for an apartment to rent? Do a local and online search and you will find a number of rental units that fit your wants, needs, and budget. Before rushing to sign a lease, keep these five important points in mind.

Apartment Hunting Tip: Schedule a Showing

You want to ensure your money is wisely spent and this involves seeing the apartment for rent beforehand. Any landlord can make a building or unit look nice in words. Moreover, some large complexes use standard pictures. Basically, you may be seeing pictures of a similar apartment, but not the unit you would rent.

It is also important to note that websites like Craigslist.org are home to a number of apartment rental scams. Seeing the unit for yourself (inside and out), ensures you know the money you pay will go to an actual landlord or property manager, not a scammer.

Apartment Hunting Tip: Meet the Landlord

You may get lucky and score an apartment for rent in a multi-family home. In this case, you’ll typically see that the landlord is an actual person and not a company. This landlord is who you will be dealing with on a monthly basis. Should an emergency come about, this is the person who you will turn to for assistance. Meeting the landlord enables you to determine their personality and likability upfront. It also helps to ensure they’ll be someone who is easy to contact on an as-needed basis.

If you are interested in an apartment for rent that is a part of a larger complex owned by a rental company, you still want to meet a company representative. Ask who is showing you the apartment; is it the property manager or a member of the maintenance staff? It should be.

Apartment Hunting Tip: Determine Overall Rental Costs

In addition to ensuring your money is wisely spent, it is important to opt for an apartment for rent you can afford. Take more than the monthly rental costs in mind. Consider security deposits, heat, hot water, garbage, and so forth. Ask the landlord for information on the average cost of utilities to get a good idea ahead of time. Even if you intend to rent a unit where all utilities are included, consider the added cost of extras, which may include television, phone, and internet. These extra costs should all be considered when calculating the cost of living there.

Apartment Hunting Tip: Meet the Neighbors

You might be surprised how much valuable information you can squeeze out of a neighbor in a friendly conversation. Do they know why the last renters left? How is the neighborhood? Is the area safe? You might also get the opportunity to see for yourself if your neighbors are nice, rude, or the type of people who have their speakers as loud as they can go. Is this an area you want to live in or someone you want to live next to?

Apartment Hunting Tip: Review the Lease

So you love the apartment, the landlord seems nice, and the neighbors claim this is a great neighborhood for your family. This is all great, but then you realize that the landlord filled the lease with possible fees, rules, and a bunch of stipulations. You want to realize this ahead of time. It is only natural for a lease to have a late fee or a return checked fee. No excessive noise after 10pm is also a common rule, along with no unruly parties. However, make sure you aren’t signing away your rights when reviewing a lease, which is a legal document.

Now that you got an idea about what you should do before you agree to rent an apartment and sign a lease, are your ready to start your search for apartments for rent?