When you’re apartment hunting, your best opportunity to adequately assess an apartment’s pros and cons is to make an apartment viewing appointment. You’ll meet the leasing agent or property manager of the apartment you’re considering and see for yourself what your potential new home looks like.
As a property manager, I conducted many apartment tours for prospective tenants. Here are three essential things I recommend you to bring to an apartment viewing appointment:
Bring a Digital Camera to Your Apartment Viewing Appointment
The best course of apartment hunting is to view a number of apartment units so you can compare and contrast apartment features and find the apartment that will best suit your needs.
But there is a problem with viewing multiple apartments — only a day or two later you may have already forgotten what you saw where.
Which apartment had the huge kitchen? Was it the one downtown or the one across the street from the park? Which apartment was on the ground floor? Was that the one with the extra bedroom or the one with the extra large hall closet?
Bringing a digital camera or a camera phone to your apartment viewing appointment will allow you to take a few snapshots of the apartment features that stand out to you the most. Later, when you’re comparing apartment features, you’ll be able to look at the pictures to help you remember what you liked most and in which apartment those features were. Having those visual reminders will help you make your decision about which apartment or apartments to apply for.
Here’s a tip I picked up when, as an apartment manager, I took pictures after tenants moved out of apartments in order to document any damages or cleaning charges: Prior to going into an apartment, I photographed the apartment door with the unit number on it. That way, if I did multiple move-out assessments on a single day, I’d easily be able to remember — and prove — which damages were noted in which apartment.
Apply that same practice to your apartment hunting, and photograph the apartment building before you go in, so you’ll be able to definitively remember which pictures go with which apartment community.
And here’s another tip: If you’re snapping pictures with your camera phone and it rings, please don’t answer it. You may only have 15 or 20 minutes of the leasing agent’s time. Don’t waste those precious moments chatting on the phone.
Bring a Measuring Tape to Your Apartment Viewing Appointment
If you’re worried that your oversized couch won’t fit through the apartment door or that your king-sized bed won’t fit in the bedroom, bring your own measuring tape.
Leasing agents may — and should — be able to rattle off room dimensions and doorway widths, but if they can’t, do not rely on them to measure for you and call you later with the numbers. Some agents will remember to do it, some won’t. It’s best to take matters into your own hands and do a quick measurement yourself.
A typical measuring tape is inexpensive and small enough to fit comfortably in a small purse or jeans pocket. It will only take a minute or two to grab a rough width and length measurement of, say, the dining room, so you can make sure your dining room table will fit in it.
Bring a Notepad and Pen to Your Apartment Viewing Appointment
Once you’ve measured the doorway width or room in question, you’ll want to jot the numbers down immediately. Don’t rely on yourself to remember the dimensions. You likely won’t.
Having a small notepad with you for your apartment viewing appointment will also allow you to take notes on the information the leasing agent presents to you. You’ll want to remember, for example, how much the apartment’s security deposit is, how much the application fee is and what the leasing agent’s answers to your questions were. You may also want to jot down any apartment community perks, such as free access to the community workout facilities, or any time-limited special offers, such as a free month’s rent if you apply before the end of the week.
When it comes to finding the right apartment home for you, you can never gather too much information. After all, you’ll probably spend the next 12 months of your life, or more, calling your new apartment home sweet home.
Author Experience in Rental Property Management