5 Questions to Ask During an Apartment Tour

Apr 1 2014, 1:56pm CDT | by

Going on an apartment tour is a crucial step in finding the right place to call home. The visit lets you see what the unit looks like and ask questions directly related to the space and its features.

You also have the landlord at your disposal, so it’s the perfect opportunity to uncover everything you can about the place. You’re sure to weed out the not-so-good spots by asking the right questions before settling on a new apartment.

Here are the top five things to ask:

1. What is Your Renewal Rate?

A complex’s or unit’s renewal rate refers to how many renters resign the lease at the end of their agreement. A high renewal rate generally indicates that the residents enjoyed their experience enough to stay for another year.

A low renewal rate, on the other hand, is a red flag. Low retention could be caused by numerous factors, including noisy neighbors, poor management, constant maintenance issues and high rent—none of which are fun to deal with. Also ask how long the unit has been empty (it may have some issues if it’s been awhile) and how much rent goes up each year.

2. How Old is the Building and Have There Been Renovations?

An old or historic apartment building should have had some renovations since it was first built. Know what exactly they were and when they took place. For example, cabinets that were renovated last year are a different story than a 15-year-old project.

Also ask if any repairs are planned in the coming months. You may not want to live in a construction zone, while getting new appliances could make the place more enticing. To that end, don’t be afraid to ask for repairs if the unit needs them.

3. What (If Any) Utilities Are Included?

Advertisements should have told you if any of the utilities were included, but you should still confirm the information with the landlord. You don’t want to go through the apartment tour assuming you wouldn’t have to pay water and get a bill for it after you’ve signed the lease. Asking about utilities also helps clear up gray areas.

4. How Do Maintenance and Emergencies Work?

You want to know if you’ll have one maintenance guy for a whole building or a team of repairmen. You should also know who to get in touch with should your ceiling start dripping water. Know what you’re getting yourself into before your sign the lease.

5. Can I Add a Leasee Later?

You might have moved into a one-bedroom apartment thinking you’d be on your own for a while, but circumstances change. A significant other could move in, or you might want a roommate to help with rent. Know what the policy is and what stipulations come along with it. For example, some complexes might add to the rent if another person moves in.

Source: Forbes Business


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