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First Time Apartment Renter’s Guide Checklist

by Lily Morgen
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First Time Apartment Renter’s Guide Checklist

Whether you are leaving your dorm or moving out from your parents’ home, moving into your first apartment is an exciting time in your life. But it’s also a time when you need to be extra careful as you live outside only by yourself. Here’s a checklist of things to look for when renting an apartment:

1. Determine Your Budget

The first step in finding an apartment is to figure out how much rent you can afford. This will require some budgeting on your part. Make a list of all your monthly income and expenses, including things like loan payments, credit card bills, and groceries. 

Then, set aside a comfortable amount for rent. Keep in mind that you may also need to factor in utilities, cable, and internet costs.

2. Create a List of Must-Haves

Now that you know how much rent you can afford, it’s time to make a list of the features your new apartment must have. This could include anything from the number/condition of bedrooms and bathrooms. Keep your list realistic, and be willing to compromise on some of the items if necessary.

3. Start Searching for Apartments

Once you have a budget and a list of must-haves, you can start searching for apartments in your price range. There are a few different ways to do this. You can search online listings, drive around your desired neighborhood, or even ask friends and family if they know of any openings.

4. Check the Safety of the Apartment

No matter how urgently you require a new rental home, you must never compromise on the apartment’s security.

Fire Safety

Fire extinguishers, fire alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors are a must when fire safety is concerned. If the rental unit does not have any of these devices, ask the landlord to install them before you move in. Also, look for the emergency exit when necessary.

Meanwhile, ask the community if there is a solid fire escape plan in place in case of an emergency. 

Check Water Leakage in the Ceiling and Walls

Water leakage is not only annoying but also damaging to the property. It can cause the growth of mold and mildew, which can be harmful to your health. 

Are there any indications of water damage on the ceiling or around water fixtures? Water leakage will make the apartment mess up and will also increase your monthly bills.

Check if Security Cameras are Installed

Installing security cameras in strategic positions around the rental property. It is an excellent way to keep an eye on things, especially if you live in a high-crime area. If your potential apartment does not have any security cameras installed, ask the landlord about it.

Check Crime in the Neighborhood

Research the crime rate in the neighborhood of your potential new home. Visit the local police station and ask for statistics on criminal activity in the area. If you feel unsafe, look elsewhere for an apartment.

5. The Apartment’s Location

When narrowing down your choices for a new apartment, consider the location carefully. If you have a long commute to work, you will likely spend a lot of time in traffic. This can add up to hours wasted every week. Consider an apartment that is closer to your job or within walking distance, if possible.

6. Consider the Parking Situation

If you have a car, you will need to find a safe and convenient place to park it. Ask the landlord about the parking situation. Is there on-street parking available? If so, is it metered or unmetered? Is there a garage or covered parking available for an additional fee?

7. Are Pets Allowed?

Pets can be great companions, but not all landlords allow them. If you have a pet, make sure to ask the landlord if they allow animals in the rental unit. Some landlords may require a pet deposit or an additional monthly fee.

8. Plumbing

During your apartment check, pay close attention to the areas surrounding the toilet, and under the sinks for any signs of water leaks. You wouldn’t want to experience waking up in the morning to a strong scent coming from the toilet because of leaks and rotting wood. 

Also, water leaks can cause serious damage to the apartment unit and may even require you to move out while repairs are being done.

Look for faucets and make sure they can turn off completely. How about the showers’ water pressure? Is it maintained well? Also, check the water pressure, and see if the hot water function is good.

9. Kitchen Appliances

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in an apartment, so make sure that all appliances are functioning properly. The stove should have even flames, and the oven should be able to reach the right temperature. 

The fridge should be cold enough to keep your food fresh, and the freezer should be able to keep things frozen. You also need to check whether the appliances gas or electric and are in good condition.

10. Livingroom and Bedroom

The living room is where you will spend most of your time when you’re at home, so make sure that it is comfortable and spacious enough for all your furniture. The bedroom should be big enough to fit a bed, dresser, and nightstand. Both rooms should have windows that let in natural light.

11. Windows and Doors

All windows and doors should be in good condition and correctly installed. Make sure that the locks on the doors are working properly, and that the windows close tightly. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for any damage done to these items, so it’s important to check them before you sign the lease.

12. Bathroom

The bathroom is another important room in the apartment, so make sure to inspect it thoroughly. The toilet should flush properly, and there should be no leaks. 

The sink and shower should also have good water pressure, and the drains should be clear. Meanwhile, pay attention to the smell over the drain hole, if there is a bad smell, it may be due to a blockage. 

Also, check whether the cold and hot water faucets work properly and do not leak, and make sure the shower, tub, and sinks drain water quickly.

13. Cleaning Facilities

Cleaning facilities are important, especially if you have allergies or asthma. Make sure that the apartment has a vacuum cleaner, laundry and that the landlord provides cleaning supplies. If possible, try to schedule a time to see the cleaners in action to get an idea of how well they clean the rental units.

14. Electrical Outlets

All electrical outlets should be working properly. Inspect all electrical outlets in the apartment with a phone charger. Meanwhile, the place of electrical outlets will determine the arrangement of your furniture. If there are not enough outlets, you might have to buy an extension cord.

15. Heating and Cooling Systems

Is the apartment air conditioned? Inspect the heating and cooling systems to make sure that they are working properly. The apartment should have proper insulation to keep you comfortable during extreme weather conditions.

16. Floors

All floors should be even and without any cracks or holes. Carpeted floors should be clean and free of stains. If there are hardwood floors, make sure that they are in good condition and not warped.

17. Are You Comfortable with the Living Space?

After you have checked everything on the list, it’s time to ask yourself if you’re comfortable with the living space. If you feel like the apartment is too small or too cluttered, it’s probably not the right fit for you. It’s important to find an apartment that you feel comfortable in because you’ll be spending a lot of time there.

Take your time in inspecting the apartment and don’t hesitate to ask the landlord questions. It’s better to be sure about your decision before signing the lease. We hope this article helped you in knowing what to look for when renting an apartment. Good luck in finding your new home.

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