A new home is more than just a place to sleep; it affects everything in your life. Every moment you spend at home matters.
That said, the reality of renting is that that time to start searching for a perfect new place always seems to sneak up on you. And it’s not like that’s all you’ve got on your plate—you’re also trying to do a good job at work, keep up with your friends and family, and maybe get home to take your dog out at a decent hour.
We get it. We talk to renters every day, so we understand the challenges. That’s why we’d like to share some tips and tricks that will make your tours super-efficient. There’s nothing worse than lying awake the night before you sign on the dotted line, second-guessing your decision.
We know it’s easy to get excited about some of the more glamorous things about an apartment, but we also wanted to make your mom happy by throwing in some more practical concerns—because a freezing-cold shower can really downgrade your morning!
Here are some things we think are really important. Now, load up your RadPad app with listings and go forth and tour!
Get the Pet Lowdown
Your pet typically spends more time at home than you do—so it’s important to make sure a new place is the right fit! First, the basics: are there any restrictions regarding size or breed? Are there deposits and/or a monthly “pet rent”? Then, on to other things: are there designated pet areas where you can walk your dog? Perhaps even a dog run nearby? After all, you want those early-morning walks to be easy for both of you!
Scope Out the View
While we hope you have an amazing view from each window, that may not always be possible. Take note of the views–do they work for you? If you have a view of another apartment, consider how much of a view you might have. (We know someone who had a real-life Friends experience with their own “Ugly Naked Guy”—but even worse, they could only see him when he was, um, using the bathroom.)
Location, Location, Location
Do you feel at home walking around the neighborhood? Are there restaurants and bars nearby that you’d like to visit? (If you’re not sure, we wrote our neighborhood guides to give you the inside scoop.) It’s also important to think about where your friends live in relation to you—a half-hour drive late at night might get old fast.
If you commute to work (and most of us do), don’t consider the distance—consider the time it will take you to get to work. A “close” apartment may actually be on a road that’s regularly gridlocked during rush hour. (Driving apps can help you check out estimated commutes.)
Lap the Pool
If your complex has a pool, be sure to check out the overall condition, as well as the atmosphere. If you love to do laps (we bow down to your dedication), are the rest of your neighbors standing in the water chatting? If your complex—and pool—are full of kids and you’re not a parent yourself, are you cool with that? If you can, stop by on the weekend or whenever you typically swim to check out the vibe.
Not to get all practical, but don’t forget to ask what happens if you have an issue. Is there 24-hour emergency maintenance if, for example, a pipe breaks? It’s good to know if help will be available when you need it.
Walk the Floorplan
If you can’t actually see your unit because of construction or tenants, ask to tour your exact floorplan and try to visualize your stuff inside. Another tip: walk by your potential future unit with your leasing agent. Even though you can’t get inside, it will help orient you in terms of light and space. Bonus: a potential opportunity say hi to your future neighbors!
Cell Phone Reception
Sure, you mostly text, but there’s nothing worse than really needing to make an actual phone call and having it drop. Call your BFF and walk around the apartment to be sure you stay connected.
We know, snoozeville–but you’ll thank us later. Check the refrigerator and turn on the oven and all the burners on the stove. If you have a washer and dryer, ask if you can run it for a few seconds or minutes to be sure everything works well. (Also, don’t forget to ask if your potential landlord cleans the dryer vent or if that’s something you’ll need to do.)
Test Water Pressure
We’ve all experienced a “shower” that’s really a sad trickle of water. It’s the absolute worst, so don’t forget to test the water pressure and temperature.
This one’s crucial to quality of life, and can be tricky to figure out. If you really love a place, try to visit at different times. Noisy neighbors might be working during the day, but back at night (and vice versa). If you’re near a street, don’t forget to listen for traffic!
Ask About Deposits
Don’t be taken by surprise! If you love a place, definitely ask what you’ll owe upfront in terms of first month’s rent, last month’s rent, security deposits, and any other fees. If you do decide to move in, make sure all these costs are outlined in the lease.
Even if you don’t have a roommate now, circumstances change. Are there any restrictions you need to know about?
Check Out Common Spaces
This won’t apply to everyone, but if your place has common spaces, like a pool, gym, meeting rooms, or locker rooms, don’t miss touring these areas, as well. Does everything look clean and secure? Good, you’re set! Don’t forget to ask about facility hours, as well. If you work late and want to fit in a workout, it’s important that the hours fit your schedule.
We hope that our suggestions will help you find the home of your dreams. If you’d like to talk over anything in person or just learn more about a certain complex or neighborhood, please get in touch. Happy searching!