The Apartment Sleuth’s Inspection Checklist for Moving

AS_Sherlock-HolmesPicture this: you’ve found the perfect apartment at a reasonable rate. You think to yourself, “I’ve done it!” Then, as soon as you move all your stuff in, everything breaks and the trash truck wakes you up every morning at 4 a.m. and your neighbor dings your car over and over again and your shower has no water pressure and it takes an hour just to wash your hair and you can’t believe you signed this lease only a week ago, why is this happening?! Now take a deep breath. That doesn’t have to be you. That’s why we’re here! We’ve made a list of a few things that you may forget to ask when it comes to finding the perfect apartment.


If you have a car, this is a big one. Find out if they charge for parking and if you get your own designated spot. Is there covered parking? What about visitors? Will your friends be parking a mile away if they drive to your place? If they have to, it’ll sure test their friendship!

Do they provide a washer/dryer in the apartment? Do they have connections for them if not? Do they have a community laundry room? If so, how much does it cost per load? Rolls of quarters may become your best friend.

Is the building going to be under construction within your next lease term? If the answer is yes, make sure it won’t bother you. Heck, if your alarm is a CD titled “Cascading Sounds of the Jackhammer,” maybe construction is something you want.

Repairs and Emergencies
Who is responsible when your sink starts spraying water at everyone in the middle of dinner with your boss? If it’s you, hope you’re a handyman! What about when your heat goes out in the dead of winter? Who ya gonna call? (Not Ghostbusters, that’s different.)

Pest Control
This is a big one. Have there been any cases of bed bugs in your unit/the complex? If so, were they taken care of? Who is responsible for killing those tiny life-suckers? You need to know.

Utility Bill Cost
How much does the average utility bill cost? Are there any eco-friendly windows installed or has the building been the same since 1815? Older buildings tend to have higher electricity costs. They also look pretty though, so weigh your options.

How long has the unit been empty? How long did the last tenant stay? If the unit has been empty for months, there may be something wrong with it. Did the last tenant move out within a month? Find out if it was because of the unit or because she followed her dreams to join a traveling circus.

Do you have a pet? This is deal breaker at some places. Conversely, if your complex allows pets, make sure your neighbor isn’t the proud owner of a Great Dane who enjoys yodeling.

Is this place located by a busy intersection? Will it be impossible to get anywhere during rush hour? Will you be using public transit and is it accessible? Are you next to an underpass where a rowdy bunch of trolls live? All good things to ask.

Typical Renters
Find out what kinds of renters tend to live in the community, and whether you’d feel at home there. Will your neighbors be an elderly couple who bakes you cookies or rowdy college students slinging plastic handles of vodka every night? Are you the latter and just want company? It’s a nice thing to know.

Water Pressure
Will it take an hour to wash your hair because the shower slowly drips rather than showers? Will your toilet ever flush? This is definitely a do-it-yourself move: when touring the apartment, flush the toilet and run the shower water. It’s an easy test and something you’ll be glad you did when it comes time to get clean.

We hope some of these tips will help you on your next hunt for the perfect apartment. On, it’s easy to pick and choose which amenities are important to you. Just use the “Advanced” button on the dropdown menus in the search bar. For more tips on moving, apartment hunting, or apartment life, check out our resources for renters!