The apartment hunting has begun! Get ready, folks. This is the time for you to find your new sanctuary, your new “pad”, “crib”, aka- home sweet home. Where you go after a long day of work, kick off your shoes, pour a glass of wine (or enter in your drink of choice) and relax. A place where you create memories. Long story short, it’s important to know what you’re getting into and making a smart move for you and your loved ones.
To help prepare you for the big move, here are 10 important questions to ask while apartment hunting to make sure you found the perfect oasis.
1) When can I move into the apartment?
Are you looking to move in a month, couple of months, or next week? Make sure your apartment will be available when you need it. There are some communities where you need to sign a lease WAY in advance. Is it a brand new community? If so, it’s important to ask what would happen if the home isn’t ready on time. What are your options? Going in with a clear plan of action will make the moving process way less stressful.
2) What are the leasing terms?
You know that really important long (boring) legal document you have to sign before moving in? Make sure you carefully read through it so there are no surprises.
There are several questions to ask about the lease. Here are a few important ones:
- What’s the penalty for breaking the lease?
- How much is the deposit / what is the total cost up-front at signing?
- When / how do you collect rent?
- Is there a grace period for late payments?
Knowing this information upfront will make sure you’re fully prepared. You never know- an emergency can pop up or a GREAT job opportunity presents itself that you just cannot pass up. Now you have to break the lease only 6 months in…
3) What’s the Pet Policy?
Every community has different rules and regulations. Some are welcoming to all animals no matter their type, breed and size. However, most have restrictions on certain breeds, size and weight. Make sure you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable and hard situation. Having to find another home for your fur baby or having to pay a whopping fee and cause you to move out would be a nightmare.
With that said, here are a couple of questions to ask to make sure Fluffy will enjoy the new home as well:
- Is there a limitation on number/weight of pets and breeds?
- Is there a monthly fee?
- Is the pet deposit refundable?
- Is there a dog park area or pet waste stations?
If you plan on getting a pet in the future, this is important information to know as well. Remember, most rescues and breeders always require either a visit to the home or will call the community to make sure it’s okay for Fido to be there.
4) Are any utilities covered in the rent? What utilities am I responsible for?
Some apartment communities cover select utilities. This can end up saving you money and hassle. It will also help you understand what utilities will need to be scheduled to transfer to your new home.
5) Am I able to make changes to the apartment? (IE. paint, decorations, wall art)
Decorating is SO much fun (check out our Pinterest board!), but it can cost you a pretty penny when it comes time to move out. Make sure to ask what you’re able to change without getting charged. In most cases, you will be charged if it’s not reverted back to its original condition. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t paint, BUT you will have to paint it back before returning the keys. But hey- putting artwork on the wall and adding all the little touches, which make it your home, can be worth the cost, regardless.
6) What is there to do around the area? What are your favorite spots?
This can be easily done by doing a quick Google search, but it’s great to get the insiders scoop on the area. The office staff will be able to provide all the tips and best known secrets of the area!
7) What’s the parking situation?
If you have a car in an urban setting, parking can be difficult to find. Are there certain spots allotted per unit? What happens if you have company, where do they park? Getting the parking details will help prevent any unfortunate towing incidences (seriously, is this not the worst feeling ever!?) and make sure there’s enough parking for the household.
8) How is maintenance handled? How do you put in an emergency request/ how quick is the service?
One of the best aspects about renting is the fact that you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket if something breaks! Although everything looks great in the apartment, knowing how maintenance is handled can make or break a community. Make sure you’re covered and someone will quickly be available if a water pipe breaks or the AC decides to not cool in the middle of summer.
9) How far in advance do I have to provide notice to move out? What are my options for lease renewal?
When it comes time to figure out if you want to continue living at your apartment, it is best to know your options. Do they require 3-month notice? Do they offer month-to-month leases? Do they raise the rent yearly? This will make sure you’re prepared and not scrambling or getting hit with unexpected fees.
10) In what circumstances will I not receive the security deposit back?
Do they perform a move-in checklist? It’s best to keep a record of any scratches or other damages seen in the apartment to make sure you don’t get charged when it comes to the move out inspection. #CoverYourBasesPeople.
Finding a new place to live is exciting, fun and stressful- all at the same time. Finding the perfect spot for you may take some time. But if you keep these questions in mind, you’ll feel confident you’ve made the right choice. Northwood Ravin has an impressive portfolio of STUNNING signature communities throughout the Southeast and we’re expanding! Check out our communities. We’re talking luxury at its finest, my friends. Happy hunting!