Even in the best of situations, moving is inherently stressful. There are simply too many factors to consider for it to not be at least somewhat complicated. Searching for a new place is one of the most important elements, and it can be hard to know if you’re getting the right place for the right price.
Like any purchase, there are many questions you should ask before committing, but with an apartment, it’s even more vital to know what you want and what matters to you, as it’s the place you’ll come home to every single day. To help, we’ve created our top ten questions you should be ready to find the answers to along your apartment hunting journey.
1. How Do I Pay Rent?
This question comes with other questions under one umbrella. You should aim to find out not only how to pay rent, but what happens if you miss the due date. What are the late fees like? Does your complex take a check, or do they require a credit card or bank account info?
Furthermore, many apartments have certain fees that come with moving in, so you’ll want to make sure that you know about these before signing on the dotted line. Be polite but confident when discussing this with your leasing agent, and don’t be afraid write everything down to compare notes when you get home.
2. What is the Apartment Guest Policy?
We get it; you have a busy life! With as many family, friends, loved ones, etc. as you know, it’s important that wherever you move in is comfortable with visitors. Even if you’re more of a hermit, it’s a good idea to find out the guest policy.
If you’ve got people from out of town coming to visit or stay with you, or you foresee that situation in advance, be sure and learn what the apartment’s policy on guests is like. Obviously you aren’t typically allowed to have someone live with you full-time without their name on the lease, but where is the balance between a full-time guest and someone coming to hang out on the weekends? Find out before you move in.
3. Where Can I Park?
This one is extremely important for many people, especially if you’re driving to and from work or school every day. Parking is one of those things that, when it goes well, you don’t think about it, but when it doesn’t, it’s agonizing.
Driving around at the end of a long day searching for a parking spot is the favorite activity of absolutely no one. Some complexes also have parking garages, which can help if you live on a higher floor. Find out what the parking situation is in advance, as well as if there is a parking pass you’ll be required to pay for.
4. How are Repairs Handled?
One of the great benefits of renting is that your landlord is responsible for many repairs, such as faulty appliances and leaks. But before you move in, you should find out exactly how these situations are handled by your potential new home.
There’s almost nothing worse in a new apartment than something in your home being broken and having to wait days for it to get fixed. Make sure you’re choosing a home with a reliable maintenance policy, especially in the case of emergencies.
5. Which Utilities/Services Are Covered?
For this question, almost every complex is different. Some places are all expenses paid, meaning you pay one fee for rent, and the apartment covers everything from electricity and water all the way down to WiFi and even cable. For others, you’re on your own.
When choosing a new apartment, you likely have a specific budget in mind, and unexpected utility and service costs can destroy your financial planning. Be sure to ask how this process works and what elements the facilities are going to cover.
6. What is the Policy on Landlord Entry?
In many states, landlords are simply not allowed to enter a home without first checking with the tenants. However, in apartment complexes, specifically in Oklahoma cities like Tulsa, landlords can sometimes enter in the case of maintenance or repairs.
If privacy is a high priority for you, which we’re guessing it is, check with the leasing agent before you commit so you know when people are allowed to enter your new home.
7. What Kind of Changes Can I Make?
Your new home should be exactly that: yours. To make it so, there are certain changes you likely want to make, from hanging things to painting the walls. However, in many cases, this can result in losing your security deposit.
Check with your apartment complex before moving in to see if they allow changes to be made, or if there are certain policies in place to prevent this. There are usually rules of some kind, of course – you can’t just tear down whole pieces of your new place. The key is finding out what those rules are.
8. What is the Sublet Policy?
Studying abroad? Leaving town for a temporary assignment? Just need a change? In these cases and more, you might be looking to sublet your apartment so that you don’t have to go through the process of ending your lease early and incurring financial penalties.
Many places don’t allow for subletting as it creates liability for all parties involved, however, so check with your leasing agent if you think you might need to rent out your new home.
9. Will Renovations Occur and How?
Everyone is always renovating. Well, not everyone. But many places are adding new features all the time to make life even better for their tenants. From new parking to new seating areas at the pool and even fitness centers, additions can be great for everyone.
However, if you’re living in the complex during those renovations, it can be anywhere from a minor irritant to a huge hassle. You should ask if there are plans to renovate and if so, how those work, making sure they won’t interrupt the essential parts of your life.
10. What is your Pet Policy?
Last but not least by any means, you need to know about pets. From fish, lizards, and snakes to cats, birds, and dogs, there are tons of animals to fall in love with. Unfortunately, not all apartment owners are also in love with your furry (or scaly) friend. Sometimes, this simply means paying a pet deposit in case your dog eats the walls, but others, there are no pets allowed under any circumstances. Check with your landlord before signing your lease if your pet is key to your new home.
For more questions, please contact us at 405-360-0445! Or if you’d like more moving and storage tips, read the rest of our blog.