Choosing the right apartment to fit your needs is complicated, but it is also extremely important not to rush into a decision.
You are going to be living there for the foreseeable future, so why sign the lease for a place that you might not enjoy or one that might have a lot of frustrating problems? One of the most common mistakes that people can make when getting a new apartment is not thoroughly inspecting it well enough.
However, even if you do give your potential apartment a good run-through, it may be hiding undesirable features if you do not know what to look for. By doing your research and preparing ahead of time, you can be confident that your new apartment will not throw any surprises your way after you have already signed the leasing contract.
By signing the lease on a new apartment, you are making a commitment to pay a certain amount in rent every month, as well as a security deposit. However, if you are not careful and thorough when checking the apartment before you sign, you may be stuck with undesirable conditions. Not only will these conditions be annoying for the duration of your stay in that apartment, but they may also be thrown back onto you by the landlord at the end of your contract.
Particularly unscrupulous landlords might try to rush to make you sign for their apartment before you have gotten the chance to make your inspection. However, signing for a new apartment should be on your own time as a tenant, and you should not try to move too quickly if you can avoid doing so. There are generally always other apartments out there, so do not fall for certain scare tactics. Aesthetic, function and security checks are all extremely important and should not be overlooked before finally deciding on a new place.
There is a wide variety of potential concerns to look out for in a new apartment. While checking for all of these things can seem like a hassle, it is well worth it. If you forget to check some of them beforehand, you may be held liable for them if they turn out not to work, even if it is still shortly after signing the lease. Some of the most important considerations include:
You will need to set up a time with your prospective landlord to check out the new apartment and carve out a long-enough chunk of time to thoroughly check off items on your list. Additionally, you will need to bring some handy tools that can help with the inspection, such as a camera, tape measure (for the doorways, to compare with your furniture), notebook and pen.
While you perform your inspection, be sure to take many pictures, detailed notes and precise measurements. Then, sign your final list of concerns and have your landlord sign it as well. That way, you cannot be held liable for any problems that were already in the apartment before you moved in. Most landlords will accept a certain amount of daily wear and tear of an apartment at the end of your contract, but you may lose your security deposit if there are more serious problems with the apartment that were not documented at the beginning. If your prospective landlord is unwilling to make any changes, you may be able to negotiate your rent.
There are also a few additional considerations to keep in mind as you perform your inspection.
By following all of these steps, there should not be any surprises before, during and after moving in and enjoying your new apartment.