Posted Mar 13, 2012

Save Yourself a Headache: Things to Check at an Apartment Showing

Say you’re at an open house, or checking out a rental on your own, and you’re overwhelmed: there are twenty other people filling out applications, you’re angling for position to talk to the landlord, and you’ve only got a few minutes before the next open house. Before you submit that application, here are a few things you may not have thought of to check before submitting an application:

  • Cell service. One thing you don’t want to do after the movers leave is go to call for pizza and find out you’ve only got one bar of service. Check to make sure your phone gets service before you sign a lease, especially if you work from home or don’t want to spend your time on Skype.
  • Noise. It’s hard to tell at a crowded open house, but rest assured that if you can hear Muni over the din of your fellow apartment hunters, you’ll hear it first thing when you don’t want to wake up in the morning. Try opening the window if you dare to get an idea of how much noise is on the street. Ask about the neighbors and the hours they keep. If you’re at all sensitive to noise, it’s worth asking awkward questions.
  • Electrical outlets. If you’ve lived in an apartment with old wiring, you know what a pain it is to deal with converters for three-pronged plugs and inevitable blown fuses from hairdryers and microwaves. This is easier for one or two people living in the apartment, but more than that and old-fashioned outlets get straight-up old, fast.
  • Water. Check the water pressure (though it may have a low-flow faucet which you can, ahem, adjust) and also the water temperature. One thing I miss from my old apartment was the ability to turn the tap and get scrub-in-for-surgery hot water within seconds. A dealbreaker? No. But if it never gets hot at all? Yes.

What else do you check for before moving in a new rental? What’s on your headache list?

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Comments

  • Jeanette

    I look for traps. If they have any laid out, it means rodents are near by or have been a problem in the past. I also check to make sure every switch works. 

    • LiveLovely

      Wonderful ideas, Jeanette. The kitchen is an especially good place to look for traps: around the refrigerator, in the back of cupboards, etc. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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  • Cecilia

    I try to get a hold of a neighbor and flat-out ask them what it’s like living there.

    You will get the scoop immediately; especially any negative stuff about the landlord.

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    This sounds really amazing strategies for ones those finding a apartment or looking out to buy a new apartment.