Hunting for an apartment is no easy task. And seeing as you’re typically stuck with your choice for at least a year, it’s a serious one.
To make sure you get the information you need to make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of six questions you should definitely ask during your search.
- What is included in the rent? What isn’t?
“It is important to find out what all is included in the price so the renter understands what the true monthly spend will be,” says Angela Warnecke, director of leasing and marketing at The Commons on Kinnear in Columbus, OH.
“When purchasing housing, you have to budget for electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash, cable, and internet,” she adds. “It is great if you can find an apartment that includes most, if not all, of these utilities.”
And if there is a cap on utilities, make sure to get all the details, says Krisann Baker, regional marketing manager at Pierce Education Properties.
- What are the costs of applying/signing?
Find out what signing fees are due, what they cover, and whether they are refundable, Warnecke says.
- What is required to pass the application?
“This spills into the fees, because application fees normally are not refundable,” Warnecke says. “If you don’t pass the application process, you lose that money.”
- Is the lease an individual lease or a joint and several lease?
“Individual leases mean you are only responsible for your portion of the rent, regardless of what happens with your roommates,” Warnecke says, adding that each roommate signs a separate lease.
“Joint and several means that everyone who signs the lease will be responsible for taking care of that rental payment,” she continues. “If a roommate leaves, the remaining roommates will be responsible for the entire rent. The names of all the roommates are on the same lease.”
- What is the parking policy? And how much does parking cost?
This is an especially important question in big cities like Atlanta, where some apartment communities charge $100 or more per month for parking, Baker says.
One advantage to living at 100 Midtown in Atlanta is that it’s just a five-minute walk from the Midtown MARTA station.
- What is the guest policy? Can I have family and friends visit overnight?
No one wants to find themselves in violation of their lease because they let someone crash at their place.
Are there any other apartment hunting questions you think renters should ask? Leave them in the comments!