Apartment hunting is no easy feat. Once you’ve finally found a place that’s within your budget, close to public transportation, and home to an awesome roommate, you’ll probably just want to get on with having signed a lease agreement and call it a day — but not so fast. Did you make sure to thoroughly examine the place for any red flags? Unless you take the time to check that everything is in working order — particularly in older apartment buildings — you could be setting yourself up for some serious problems down the road. So before signing a lease, run through this checklist of apartment features you have to inspect first.
1. Check for a properly working fridge before signing a lease
If you’re viewing an apartment that’s currently occupied, this might make you look a bit sketchy. However, real estate author and attorney Ron Leshnower says it’s important to know whether or not the apartment’s refrigerator is in good working order. The first thing to check before signing a lease? Something incredibly basic that, if overlooked, could mean a fridge full of spoiled food.
Also, take note of the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer. If it doesn’t feel cold enough, it could be a sign that it’s not working properly. If the tenants are around, ask if they’ve ever had any issues with the fridge keeping food cold during hot summer months. Note any previous issues, and ask your landlord if you have a concern before signing a lease.
2. Check for functioning windows
This one is important year-round. You want to make sure you can open and close your windows without letting in any drafts. Drafty windows can mean freezing air in the winter, but if you can’t even open them, you might be stuck in sweltering heat during the summer. Checking to see if your windows work before signing a lease is a simple task that could save you a lot of headache.
Take note of any drafts or cracks you see. It could be something you barely notice, but if left unseen, you might waste hundreds of dollars in energy trying to warm up or cool down your apartment later.
3. Is there weird partial carpeting?
Regardless of your personal feelings on carpeting, partial carpeting can be a sign of a bad coverup. Principal broker and CEO of Love Where You Live Realty, Mike Mishkin, says some landlords try to hide damaged floors by throwing a carpet down on top — which is pretty much the equivalent to putting a giant bandaid on the problem.
If you notice any weird partial carpeting, ask the landlord if there is a history of floor damage. If he/she doesn’t answer your question clearly, it could be a sign of something fishy. Make sure to clear this up before signing a lease.
4. Check for clean running water before signing a lease
One good thing about most plumbing issues is that they’re usually pretty apparent. Head to the bathroom and kitchen and run couple of quick checks you’ll have clean, properly running water upon moving in. Make sure you have hot water (it’s your right as a tenant), and look for anything else that signal potential water problems before signing a lease.
See if the pipes underneath the sinks leak when you run the water, and pay attention to the water pressure in the shower.
Also take note of anywhere that water doesn’t drain easily. This could a sign of blocked pipes. Also note any areas where you see mold before you go on to have a signed lease agreement ready.
5. Is there a functioning door buzzer?
If the apartment’s amenities include a buzzer system, make sure it’s actually in good working order. Mishkin says to ask if you can test it out while you’re doing your walkthrough. Have your roommate stand outside and buzz in while you listen to hear if it works from the apartment. Then make sure you can buzz him or her in without a problem before signing a lease.
So, you’ve compiled a list of issues. Now, how do you bring them up to your potential new landlord? Rather than rely on a landlord’s word, Leshnower recommends having the landlord agree to address these problems in writing.
Don’t let potential apartment problems weigh you down on move-in day when you already have a signed lease agreement. Nip them in the bud before signing a lease so they don’t cause unwanted issues for you and your roommate.
D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers make a checklist for signing a lease? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!