You Rented an Apartment, Now What?

Whether you are renting your first apartment or moving for the fifth time, know what you are getting into before you sign a lease. Breaking a leasing agreement can be expensive. If the apartment complex is unbearable it may be worth it to break the lease. If you can “stick it out” to the end, be prepared before you start searching for a new home.

Most complexes will show you a model apartment. Ask if there is an apartment available that you can see versus the model. The models are usually nicer than the actual apartment you will be renting. If an apartment is not available, thank the leasing manager and keep searching. If you really like the apartment complex, make sure to take a “sales package,” and ask for the leasing manager’s business card.

Find out when the property was built. If it is an older apartment complex, ask if renovations will be done in the near future. They may not do total renovations. But, if you are lucky you can get a new stove or refrigerator or both.

After an extensive search, you decided on an apartment complex and are ready to sign on the bottom line. Wait a minute before you do. Did you ask all of the appropriate questions? If not, you may want to read these 10 tips before renting an apartment.

Inspection Checklist

  1. Look at the apartment carefully, this includes every “nook and cranny.” Ensure that molding is complete and not coming off of the wall. If there is caulking, make sure it is neat and clean.
  2. Check out the kitchen. Does the garbage disposal and dishwasher work? Are the cabinets straight and level? How old is the stove and refrigerator? Make sure the cabinetry is finished underneath. Some contractors will cut corners where possible. If you have children or pets, it’s important to make sure there are no gaps or opening because they could get stuck!
  3. Make sure the electrical outlets work. As a test, plug in a radio to make sure each outlet works.
  4. Check out the bathrooms. Are the toilets in good shape? Does the shower drip? How is the floor?
  5. Look at the hot water tank. How old is it?
  6. If there are vertical blinds, make sure they work. Are the patio and screen door secure?
  7. Open and close the windows. Do they open and close with ease? Do the locks work?
  8. If you are lucky enough to have a washer/dryer in the apartment, test them.

Additional Advice

  1. Essortment. Renting advice on what to look for in an apartment.
  2. eHow. How to rent an apartment.
  3. Met Life. Offers great advice on renting an apartment.

When you rent an apartment, make sure it’s the right one for you! Look at the area, visit during the day and night, and ask questions!

Practical Money Skills. Renting an apartment is the choice for many people for different reasons. Learn more about the financial and legal aspects of renting an apartment.