What to do when touring an apartment
February 27, 2017
So you’ve decided to live in an apartment. While that sounds simple enough, it can be tricky.
It can be tough when thinking about leases and roommates, but often the hardest part is the tour itself and deciding what you want in a place. It’s really important to have a few conversations with your future roommates and be sure to look at a few different places to get a feel for what is out there. It’s easy to pick the first place if it seems right and there is pressure to sign. But make sure to do a thorough tour before signing on that dotted line. Follow these steps to picking out the perfect place.
Agree on a budget
Think about rent, but also think about utilities. It’s not one without the other. If you want to spend $500 a month, make sure it’s under $500 a month. This means making sure both rent and utilities will be under your desired price. When looking at places, make sure you clarify with the realtor what is included in your rent because some companies include certain utilities.
Decide on a location
Want to be located on Frat Park? Or on Green Street? Maybe you want to be steps from the Main Quad? Regardless of whether you want to be closes to your classes or near home after bar close, be sure to agree on the area beforehand.
Look into realty companies
There are many options when it comes to realtors, but be sure to talk with friends about their experiences and look at reviews before deciding on one. Certain companies have reputations about being helpful, while others might have terrible reviews. Do your research because these are the people who will be helping with leaky pipes or broken windows.
Are you looking for a high rise with a panoramic view? What about number of bathrooms? Maybe you want a parking spot? All of these things are important to nail down before going on the hunt. With these discussions, you can narrow down the necessary amenities and others that are more negotiable.
So it’s time for the tour. Make sure you take all roommates with so you’re seeing the place at the same time. It’s a lot tougher to discuss a place if you all haven’t seen it. Here’s what to look for during your tour.
Is the apartment you look at your place?
Make sure to clarify whether the apartment you’re looking at will actually be yours when you sign or whether it’s a showroom. Some companies will show you an apartment that will be yours, while others have fancy ones that are meant too show off. Most realtors will knock on random layouts to show the differences and this will also give you a feel for how the place does as a live-in unit.
Look for problems
As you tour, look for problems that might be detractors such as holes in the wall, bugs or any other weird issues. Ask the current people living there what they think. Maybe you need to pull them aside to get an honest opinion.
Take the realtor with a grain of salt
Listen to what the realtor has to say, but don’t be easily impressed. It’s their job to show it off and add flash, but remember to ask realistic questions and ones that matter to you. Also be sure to ask whether the company can come in randomly and give you a showing, or whether they need to give you a heads up. This is crucial, as you don’t want them walking in on some sights.
Consider the people living their now
It’s easy to see the place as is, and be super frightened or excited. But keep in mind, this is a completely different apartment under these tenants’ control. You’ll have a say when it comes to decorating.
Is the security to get in the building sufficient? Don’t underestimate or downplay safety if you’re concerned. Your apartment will be your home and you want to feel safe living there and coming home from the library or bars late at night.
Can you see yourself living here? It sounds very HGTV, but this will be your place for the next year. Do you want to live here? Is it cozy? Is it worth the price? Is it a home?
After the tours, follow up with your roommates before deciding to sign.
Talk, talk, talk!
Make sure you talk with your roommates right after the tour to get their opinions away from the realtor. It’s important you all discuss honestly to either cross the place off your list or decide it’s the one.