While browsing through listings is a great way to find your new apartment, everyone knows that you might not necessarily get the complete picture regarding the unit. In order to get an accurate assessment of the apartment, you need to see it with your own eyes.
You know what that means: apartment tours!
Now, you might know what an apartment tour is, but do you know what to look for and how to make the most of it? Since you’re going to make the effort to see the apartment in person, you should know how to get the most out of an apartment tour.
Setting Up an Apartment Tour
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to your top potential picks using the best apartment rental search websites, it’s time to set up your apartment tour appointment! Typically, you can get the contact information for the leasing office from the listing itself. You can also check whether the apartment building has a website. You can also check whether the leasing office has an email address.
Make sure to call or email during office hours so that you have the best chance to connect with the property manager or landlord. Once you’ve made contact, you’ll give your name and contact information, as well as express your interest in the specific unit you wish to rent.
During this call, it’s a good idea to confirm the details of the unit, such as availability, rent price, and security deposit. You should also clarify what application process and requirements are needed to apply as a tenant. This way, you can be assured that you are inquiring about the right unit and that the details listed online are correct.
After confirming the apartment details, set an appointment for your apartment tour. Choose a date and time, as well as the meeting place. You can either meet at the leasing office or at the apartment itself.
Be sure to come on time and dress professionally when you show up for your appointment. Remember, landlords are usually entertaining several interested parties in the unit, so you want to put your best foot forward to get approved!
The Apartment Tour Checklist
While your apartment tour checklist can differ depending on the type of apartment that you are renting, there are generally four areas that you need to check during your apartment tour.
Checking the bedroom usually revolves around the availability of space. Will you be able to fit your furniture inside the room and still move around comfortably? If you’re worried about the size, it might be a good idea to take some measurements so that you can check once you get home.
If the room size is adequate, you should move on to storage and lighting. Does the room come with a closet? Does it have enough windows to let in light and fresh air?
Remember, this is where you’ll be relaxing, de-stressing, and sleeping! You want to have a bedroom where you will feel safe and comfortable.
Checking the bathroom generally means looking for leaks and faulty plumbing. Flush the toilet and let the water run in the shower and sink. You can check whether all the facilities in the bathroom are working properly. You can also check the strength of the water pressure, as well as the temperature of the water.
If you live in New York, you’re definitely going to need hot water during the winter!
Just as with the bathroom, you’ll need to check whether the plumbing and water pressure in the kitchen are adequate. Turn on the faucet and see if the water is running down the drain smoothly. Look for any issues like leaky pipes or the faucet not closing properly.
Aside from plumbing, take this time to check the appliances and furniture in your kitchen. Are the appliances working properly? Open the cabinets to see the available space and whether there are any signs of pest infestation.
Once you’ve toured the rooms, it’s time to investigate the general condition of the apartment. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Check doors and windows. Do they open and close smoothly and securely? Can they be locked?
- Test the wall sockets. Do they all have power?
- Test the lights for all the rooms. Are all the switches working?
- Does the room have any structural damage like water stains, mold growth, etc.?
- Does the room have a smoke detector?
- Test the thermostat. Can you feel the change in temperature?
- Look for the circuit breaker box. Does it look secure and well-maintained?
Basic Things to Ask About the Apartment
Too often, it’s far too easy to get caught up in a beautiful-looking apartment. Keep in mind, however, that just as you’re putting your best foot forward, the apartment has also been spruced up!
It’s not a bad thing to ask basic maintenance questions about the apartment during your tour. You can ask how old the apartment is, and whether there are regular inspections for pests and weather damage. You can also ask whether the building does routine safety checks for things like mold growth, electrical problems, and fire warning systems.
How Long Does an Apartment Tour Take?
An apartment tour can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the apartment and any issues you may find. Make sure that you note down any issues or questions that you might have during the tour. You should also be prepared to answer some basic questions from the property manager because they are also getting a feel for you as a potential tenant.
What If You Spot Issues with the Apartment?
If there are any issues with the apartment, don’t be afraid to bring them up. For major issues, there is nothing wrong with bringing them up during the apartment tour itself. This way, you’ll get an idea of how the management operates -- having a major issue visible during an apartment tour might be a red flag!
After the tour, go through your list with the property manager. If you’re sure about renting the apartment and you get approved for the list, you can be sure that these issues will get fixed before you move in. That way, once your move-in date rolls around, you won’t run into any more problems with your apartment. Just make sure to have one final (and quick) inspection before you move in to make sure everything is in order.
Is a Virtual Tour as Good as a Personal One?
It’s not always possible to show up in person for an apartment tour, especially during this pandemic. In that case, you should consider getting a virtual tour. Luckily, more and more property managers are offering virtual tours for their rental units. There are also great sites where you can get virtual apartment tours, such as Rentalpaca!
For the most part, a virtual tour is just as good as a personal tour especially if you can get the property manager to live stream the tour. You can still check off most parts of the checklist mentioned above without having to leave home.
And, yes, you should definitely ask the property manager to flush the toilet.
You should never skip an apartment tour. No matter how great an apartment sounds or how beautiful the pictures look, nothing beats an apartment tour for getting the complete picture. You can even schedule two or three tours in a day to maximize your time. It’s not a bad idea to have several options so that you can find the best apartment for you.