I was SO excited when my husband and I were moving into our first apartment together. It was going to be my first apartment and there were all these nitpick things I wanted to come with it. I was so excited that I went out and bought plates, a broom, and a few other things. BUT, I was too excited to really look into things I needed to know, and needed to have.
So before you decide to move into your first apartment, there are some things you are going to want to look at and make sure are good to go. You always want to make sure you are moving into a place that has no safe hazards, and is in good condition no matter what your budget is!
Here are a few things to check out when doing a tour of the apartment unit you will be moving into:
As soon as you walk in through the door these are a few things you should look at and ask questions about if anything is wrong:
LOCKS ON THE DOOR
Are the locks on the door safe? Does the door close all the way and open safely? If not, make sure you ask the landlord to fix this before you move in. It can be a safety hazard.
Is the carpet dirty? Are they going to clean it? Does it smell funny? Is the tile or hardwood floor breaking or cracked anywhere? Make sure this is noted in your move in checklist, and make sure that you take pictures of it and attach it to your move in checklist.
Turn on the faucet, does the water run okay or does it spray everywhere?Is it brown or dirty? Good pressure? Does the hot water work in the sink? If there is a garbage disposal switch, turn it on, does it work? Or does it sound like it’s dying out? Check under the sink. Is there water damage in that cabinet area, or is there any water dripping when the water is on? Is there banging in the pipes when the water runs? Is there any mold? Does the fridge work well? Look inside all of the cabinets, make sure there is no damage.
Is there enough space for you to put your bed? Do you care about the space or no? Is there anything wrong with the closet doors? Do they open and close fully?
Once again, run the faucet and the shower and make sure the hot water works. Check under the sink, and look behind the toilet to check for mold and nasty critters. Flush the toilet and wait around for it to finish flushing completely and the water bowl to fill up completely. Does it keep running water even after the bowl is filled up? This could be a problem so make sure nothing is wrong with it. Is there proper ventilation? Turn on the vent and make sure it works properly. Look for mold in corners, on the walls, in the tub. If there is any mold make sure that this gets fixed before you move in.
Do all the windows close properly? Are there any cracks in the window? Is there a lot of mold around them? Make sure they all have screens, especially if you have any pets!
Plug something into all of your outlets to make sure that they work and make sure there are no burn marks around the outlet. If so, this is a BIG NO!
Do you have a lot of stuff? Is there enough closet or storage space for everything you have? How many closets do you actually have? Do you think you might need more than what there is? Ask if they offer any storage space that you can pay for if you need it. Think about what you have, suitcases, storage boxes, tool kits, tent, sleeping bags, extra comforters, etc. Where will all this go when you move in?
WHAT FLOOR ARE YOU GOING TO BE LIVING ON?
Are you okay living on the first floor? There will be people walking above you and you will be able to hear anything that goes on upstairs (I mean come on, it is apartment living). Are you okay with living on the top floor? That means stairs if there is no elevator. That also means bringing groceries up stairs and having to make double, and even triple trips. So you pick what you are willing to deal with the most.
Is there covered parking, if so how much does it cost? Are you willing to pay monthly for it? Drive around the neighborhood at night and see how full the parking lot gets. Will there be space for you to park. I remember living in one neighborhood where I had to park over half a mile away and didn’t feel safe making the walk back home. If there is designated parking, where can your guest park when they visit you?
Do you have a pet? Is there breed and pet restrictions? Where are there designated dog areas so that your pet can use the bathroom? Are they too far away? Would you want to live in a unit that is closer?
Where do you take your trash and recycle to? Is it stinky if you live too close by to it? Do you care if you live close or far from it?
Now, have you also asked your landlord other questions.
Are any utilities included in rent? Is there a pet rent fee? What is the deposit? Are we allowed to paint? If so, what colors? Do we have to paint back upon move out? What happens if we want to extend our lease when it’s up? What if someone wants to move in with me? How do we put in maintenance request? Do we have to pay for the maintenance ourselves? How much do we have to pay out of pocket if we have to end the lease early? If you are military, is there a military clause for ending the lease because of orders? How much is due as soon was we move in?
These are just a few things to think about when you are moving in. You wouldn’t want to do anything that would compromise the lease or get you in trouble with the landlord!
Next, these are a few things that we sometimes forget to buy when we move into our first apartment! I say sometimes, but you know what I mean. So here is something that will guide you for just about each room.
Here is a downloadable/printable copy:
Remember to get absolutely EVERYTHING in writing. If they say you can paint the walls with no penalty, and it doesn’t say it in your lease, then ask for it in writing from the landlord BEFORE you decide to paint.
Don’t forget to consider your pets in this decision! Will they be comfortable too?
Buy a tape measure before you buy anything and make sure it’s going to fit!
Look at the layout of your living room. Where will you put the TV in comparison with the couch? Some apartments have super funky, and uncomfortable layouts!
Measure the couch you are going to buy before you buy it so that you can make sure it fits.
Good luck to you! Renting your first apartment is always fun and exciting. It’s a new journey and it’s always better to know what you are going into. And I can’t stress this enough: ALWAYS GET EVERYTHING THEY TELL YOU IN WRITING!