I’ve moved around a lot! In fact, I’ve lived in eleven apartments, nine dorm rooms, and three houses; and, I’ve toured countless more. If you’re looking to move into a new apartment or house, make sure you thoroughly inspect the dwelling before signing the dotted line. Here are 20 things to consider before making the move.
Is it close to grocery stores, shopping, restaurants, or nightlife? Is it close to your work, school, gym, or church? Does it provide easy access to major roads or transportation? Most likely the perfect location will not exist; but, decide what you would like or not like to live close to. Remember to consider transportation costs to your common destinations when reviewing the rent.
2. Floor Plan
Is your furniture going to fit into this place or do you even have enough to fill it up? Is the floor plan convenient and logical or is it going to annoy you every day? I’ve been in many apartments and homes, and there are definitely a lot of odd floor plans out there. In the end, make sure the space is going to work for you.
What maintenance is covered and what will the land lord replace? Find out everything the land lord repairs and replaces as part of the contract as well as the process of submitting maintenance requests.
Is the area filled with late-night college students, crying babies, or quiet retirees? Talk to the neighbors and get a feel for the neighborhood vibe.
From your bedroom, can you hear the neighbor watching TV through the wall? Can you hear the traffic from the nearby highway? Is there an absurdly loud trash truck emptying the dumpster outside your window at 5 am every Monday?
6. Tour Specific Home
Before signing the lease, demand to tour the specific home in question. Don’t settle for touring the model home or apartment even if the floor plans are the same; there can be big differences in the actual condition.
7. Previous Tenants
Did the previous tenants have pets? Were they smokers? These are good questions to ask both the land lord and the neighbors. The land lord will tell you the carpets were shampooed and the smell is gone; but, this is another reason why you need to tour the specific home you may be moving into.
8. Pest Control
Does the land lord cover pest control? Has the home been routinely sprayed for pests and insects? If not, this could be an unforeseen housing expense in the near future when you start seeing all the spiders crawling around.
9. Lawn Care
Is lawn care and landscaping covered in the rent? This won’t be an issue for most apartments but it’s a good question for duplexes and houses.
10. Walls and Floors
When you tour the home, methodically examine all of the walls, floors, ceilings, and doors. Look for cracks, holes, stains, and scrapes. Especially look for where previous tenants have tried to cover up holes and scratches. Point these out to the land lord and take pictures to document them. Also inquire about policies for hanging pictures and painting.
Check all the faucets, showers, tubs, and hoses. Ensure all work properly with adequate water pressure with both cold and hot water.
Do windows allow natural light to illuminate the home during the day? Do the light sources provide sufficient light in the evenings?
13. Electric Sockets and Switches
Do all of the electric sockets and switches work? You can take your phone charger to quickly check if the electric sockets are operating.
What appliances come with the home? Will you need to buy your own microwave? Are there washer and dryer connections? Do the refrigerator and freezer work properly? Check that all the appliances are in good working condition.
15. Ceiling Height and Fans
Tall ceilings look classy but they also result in higher energy costs. Are you okay with that? Are there ceiling fans in the living spaces?
Is the home well insulated? When was it built? Are the walls going to hold in the expensive air conditioning in the summer? Good questions to quiz the neighbors on.
17. Power Sources
Is the home heated by gas or electric? Is the water heater gas or electric? The answers to these questions will have significant effects on your energy bills.
19. Utility Costs
Are utilities included? What are the average electric, water, and gas bills? Ask the neighbors.
Is garbage disposal included in rent? Are there any restrictions on using the dumpsters? How much does trash pickup cost per month?
20. Moving Fees
What are the fees for breaking the lease early? When you move out, are you required to pay for the carpets to be cleaned? What will prevent me from getting my deposit back?
This is not an all-inclusive list but it should be a good starting point for things to remember when inquiring about a new place to live. Management companies and land lords can be as slick as a used-car salesman. Don’t let them give half answers or persuade you that you don’t it’ll all be fine and that you’ll love the place. Be firm in demanding the answers to your questions so that you can make a good decision; otherwise, you may find yourself unhappy with your decision.