A self-guided apartment tour allows you to explore a space at your leisure, taking your time to check out all the features or amenities the apartment has to offer. Learn how to make the most out of one of these self-guided tours, and ensure you cover all your bases before you sign a lease or make a deposit!
What to look for on a self-guided apartment tour
There’s really nothing that beats the in-person experience of walking through an available unit. A self-guided apartment tour is a flexible option that works with your schedule by allowing you to select a time to see the rental all on your own. But with this solo venture comes a bit more responsibility since you won’t have an agent or property manager there by your side.
Fortunately, we’ve come up with a list of five things to look for during your self-guided tour, so you can feel prepared to make the right decision for you.
1.The condition of the appliances
Appearances can be deceiving, especially when you’re looking at expertly-retouched photos taken for the sole purpose of renting a unit. As you’re doing research online, it may be hard to tell how updated the oven is or how well that fridge has been cleaned.
When you take the tour for yourself, be sure to inspect each appliance’s condition, even opening the door or cabinets to see what’s inside. If anything looks like it’s coming up at the end of its lifecycle, it may be worth asking about getting a replacement before you move in.
Additionally, before you even start the tour, ensure that you’re looking at the available unit rather than a model. If the property manager only allows you to walk through the model, take all the glam features with a grain of salt — models are often decked out with better finishes, appliances, and views than available units.
2. The closet and storage space
If a place is listed as a two-bedroom apartment, you can probably expect it to have two closets — but are there any extra drawers, linen closets, or shelves in the hallway or bathroom? Depending on how much stuff you’re moving in with you, the amount of storage space might be a make-or-break factor in your decision-making process.
During your self-guided tour, be sure to check out the dimensions of each closet. Consider whether your belongings will fit comfortably or whether you’ll need an apartment with additional storage potential.
3. The safety or security measures
Regardless of if you’re living alone, with a romantic partner, or with a group of friends, you’ll want to feel safe inside your home and within your apartment complex. Online listings often leave out information regarding the security measures around the property, which means it’ll be up to you to make some mental notes on your tour.
Is the building located behind a gate, with a special code to get in? Does the door to your apartment lead directly outside, or is there an exterior front door you enter to access each unit? Does the unit you’re renting face the street or the apartment courtyard? Everyone’s requirements for what puts them at ease will vary, so just make sure you feel comfortable with the situation as you envision yourself living there.
4. The neighbors
It’s easy to look at a picture of a beautifully furnished model apartment and get your hopes up without seeing it in-person. But what a photo can’t tell you is what kind of activity that residence brings with it. When you’re taking a self-guided apartment tour, listen for any loud noises in the hallways or stairwells, as well as the noise from neighboring buildings or businesses.
It could be that everything is quiet and respectful, but if you hear excess commotion, it’s something to think about (especially if you work from home or tend to spend the majority of your time there).
5. The parking arrangement
If and where there’s parking available will have a significant impact on your quality of life. After all, ease of parking makes it easier to walk to your apartment on dark nights, stormy days, or whenever you’re toting six bags worth of groceries in one trip! So when you’re touring a new complex, pay attention to where the cars are parked in relation to each building.
Is there a covered garage where you’re protected from the elements, or is there a private lot for residents to use? Where can overnight guests park? And can you pay a little extra to opt-in for a closer space? If these questions can’t be answered through your own observations, you’re smart to ask the property manager for additional clarity.
What to ask when searching for an apartment
Knowing which questions to ask before signing a lease is vital to finding an apartment you’ll thrive in. The following are just a handful of things you can bring up, but of course, feel free to ask whatever applies to your unique situation.
- Are the lease terms negotiable (length of commitment, adding a roommate, etc.)?
- Is the available unit a different layout than the model apartment you toured?
- Are furnished apartments available?
- Who do you contact for maintenance issues or repairs?
- What are the consequences for a missed (or late) rent payment?
- Are pets allowed, and if so, are there guidelines as to their size/weight?
- Are there any group activities or outings for tenants in this building?
- Do they offer any discounts for signing a long-term contract?
- What do tenants say they love most about living here?
Love where you live!
Finding a new apartment can be a real challenge, especially if the space you rent turns out to look nothing like the model you toured a few months back. Next time, skip the unpleasant surprises by vetting your rental options with ApartmentSearch!
ApartmentSearch can help you secure your next place with ease, so you can focus on all the fun that comes with settling in. Check out our list of city guides and apartment resources today, and start planning your move in no time!