Apartment Hunting

Apartment Hunting 101

What to Look for When Touring Apartments

You’ve narrowed your list down to 2-3 apartment complexes. They look great online and have stellar reviews. Your next step is to schedule appointments with the leasing agent for on-site tours. Before you sign a lease or pay a security deposit, there are many aspects of your potential new residence that you need to check out. Not only can some due diligence help you screen out questionable apartments, but it can also alert you to any safety or maintenance issues that may come back to haunt you down the road.

1. Overall appearance of property. Are the grounds well-maintained? Dying grass, overgrown weeds, and trees indicate that curb appeal isn’t a priority. Look at the building exterior and look for paint peeling or foundation or sidewalks cracked, loose shingles, dangling pipes or gutters. When you arrive, look carefully at the parking lot. Look to see if the asphalt cracked and full of potholes? Are parking spaces well-defined? Check out common areas as well for cleanliness, modernization, and utilization. There is also a flip side to this. Some apartment complexes focus on all the capital improvements on the grounds at the expense of the units.

2. Front door. If security is a concern, you will want to know if the apartment has security doors that are accessed by a buzzer or passkey. Is there a doorman or concierge? Is the door sturdy and in good condition? Does it catch securely after being closed?

3. Odors. It’s impossible for a communal living building to be odor-free, but what you smell can make a huge difference. A stale, musty odor, cigarette smoke, and lingering cooking orders are a big turn-off.

4. Apartment unit. The same advice holds true for front and other exit doors. Are they secure? Is there a peephole and deadbolt locks? Do sliding glass doors on patios and balconies have locks in good working order? Check the windows to make sure they are easy to open and close. Do they lock? Are the screens in good condition?

5. Apartment interior.Most apartments are freshly painted after a tenant moves out. However, check for any scratches to the walls or dings/chips in the trim. If you find any, document them, so you are not charged for damage when you move out. Ask if touch-up paint is available for use after you’ve moved in.

6. Carpet. Carpet should be preferably new or have been thoroughly cleaned after the previous tenant left. Check for stains and signs of wear. Again, document any holes or stains.

7. Kitchen. What type of floor is there? Is it easy to clean? What about the countertops and sink? Look for stains, scorches, chips and cracks. Make note of them and ask the landlord if these surfaces can be replaced before you move in. Are the appliances in good working order? Open and close the doors to the fridge and freezer to make sure they seal properly.

8. Bathroom. Is the toilet new? Are there ugly lime/rust stains in the bowl? The same goes for the shower/bathtub. What kind of shower head is used? Is there enough space on the vanity or in the cabinets?

9. Bedrooms. Is there room for your preferred size of bed? How big is the closet compared to your needs? Is there a cable outlet for a TV (if you need one)?

10. Lighting and electrical outlets. Turn on the lights throughout the apartment to see if the lighting is adequate for your needs. Do the light fixtures accommodate energy-saving lightbulbs? Will you need to augment the lighting with your own lamps? Are there enough electrical outlets in the unit? Same with cable outlets.

11. Closets and storage. How big are the closets? Ask if there is additional storage for residents’ use in the basement or elsewhere on the property. That will be a huge consideration in whether not you’ll need to downsize if you move in.

While this seems like a LOT to consider, it will pay off in the long-run. You want to find an apartment where you’ll feel safe, clean and enjoy your living experience. 

At Vision Communities, we pride ourselves in the communities that we build. With apartment communities near Lewis Center and Polaris, Clintonville and Downtown Columbus, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family.