Here are a few golden rules, courtesy of Homestore.com, to help you in the great apartment search. Happy hunting!
Before you set out:
Make a shopping list. Are you looking for a dishwasher, washer/dryer, or fireplace? It doesn’t hurt to set priorities, but don’t expect to find everything.
Be prepared! Have some information ready to present to potential landlords. You should bring:
-Pay stubs or tax return
Cover the bases. Many landlords will want to check your references. Call possible references ahead of time to alert them.
Make a budget. Have an idea of the price range you are looking to stick with before you go out looking for a place.
During the search:
Try to see the apartments in the daytime. You’ll want to know how much natural light an apartment gets.
Carefully walk through any apartment you are serious about. The best time to ask about maintenance and repairs is before you sign the lease. Attach a list of already existing damage to the lease and have it initialed by your landlord to avoid problems when you leave.
Questions to ask:
-How’s the water pressure? (Better yet, turn on the shower and find out!)
-How many electrical outlets are there and where are they?
-How big is the water heater?
-How many closets are there?
Meet the neighbors. Will you live above or below someone? Knock on doors and introduce yourself. Find out how friendly they are and how they feel about noise. Get a feel for the neighborhood.
Take measurements of your larger furniture. Make sure your queen bed will fit in a 11′ by 14′ room that you’ll be sharing with a roommate before you bring it up from, oh, say, Georgia.
Visit as many places as you can. Get a good idea of what your money can buy. Be prepared to act quickly when you find something you like, as it is not likely to be around for long.
After you’ve found a place:
Read your lease thoroughly. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR LEASE. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. See what you are responsible for. For example:
-What utilities are you responsible for?
-Are pets allowed? Will they cost extra?
-Do you pay for extra parking spots?
-Will you need cable?
-Is there penalty for breaking the lease?
-Is there references to existing wear or damage?