Phase two: visit the places on the list from phase one! But don’t just walk in and look around for a few minutes.
1. Once you have the list of places you’re visiting, do a few more things before you walk out the door:
-Check out their website (might not have if it’s just a single listing, but in my case, my building has a website with photos, floor plans, etc).
-Bring your checkbook, record of employer’s direct deposit/some other form of income and a utility bill. Best case scenario (warning: not likely) you find a place that you love and want to sign a lease on the spot. You’ll need at least one or all of these items.
-Have an idea in your head (or if you’re like me, a list) of the number of pieces and general size of the furniture you’d be taking with you to move into a new place.
Apartment dwellers- I’ve known several people that lived with roommates or in shared small spaces and literally couldn’t fit a queen sized bed in some rooms. Or if you have some large piece of furniture that can’t fit through the door or hallway of a building. You’ll have to reconsider the apartment or ditch the furniture.
2. When You Get There: Make observations
-Look at the space you’ll be renting/buying
>Sometimes it’s not possible if it’s already occupied… if that’s the case, see if they have a similar model unit or an empty unit with same floor plan. If not, at the very least, get the square footage and a copy of floor plan.
-Ask for a tour of the entire building- outdoor spaces, gym area, laundry room, parking, etc.
-Observe everything- elevators or walk up (potential moving nightmare)? Old or new? Renovated? Amount of natural lighting in the space?
-Pay attention to the people in and around the building- loud, partying college types? Families with kids? You’ll get a general sense of the building and an idea of the type of people that live there- and those that could be your neighbors.
3. When You Get There: Ask Questions
-What is the square footage of the unit?
-Are utilities included?
-Washer/dryer in unit?
-Is the building separately managed or rent controlled?
-Is it safe/secure? FOB access to get in the building? Front desk/lobby attendant?
-How long is the lease? Is it cheaper if you commit to a longer term lease?
-Insurance and/or other fees required for renters?
-Pet policy (if you have or plan to get pets)? Pet deposit/fee/rent?
-How long will this unit be held for if you want to come back and sign a lease tomorrow/next few days?
-Any current promotions? Some new buildings offer one free month of rent, amenity fees waived, etc. Never hurts to ask.
4. Time to make the big decision
-Keep looking? Sign a lease? Change your budget or location, wish list, etc?
-Check back tomorrow for phase three: ready to sign the dotted line!
Phase one: here.