If you are visiting an apartment by yourself for the very first time, it may seem daunting because you don’t want to get scammed or you’re not used to looking out for certain details of the apartment complex or apartment itself. No fret! I hope my Apartment Hunting Tips collection will help you feel more confident and prepared.
I’ve shared both experiences of checking out apartments by myself and with a partner. Whether you are in a relationship or not, it’s really great to go with someone else. It’s helpful when there is another eye to see things you might have missed because you were either listening to what the leasing agent was saying or you were distracted by the free food they have in a model home’s fridge!
Below is a snapshot of the basic process when you are visiting a potential apartment complex. The entire process isn’t a short one, so ensure you have at least half of your day available to visit three to four apartment complexes.
Part 1 – At the Office
- Walk-in and wait for an available leasing agent
- A leasing agent will ask you basic questions mainly surrounding which floorplan are you looking for to help narrow down which apartment models s/he will show you on the tour. This is a great time to provide your specific requests in an apartment i.e. sunny, one bedroom, close to the gym, a specific floor (some folks don’t like being on the ground floor), etc.
- Once you and the leasing agent has narrowed down one to three-floor plans to have a look at, s/he will tell you how much each one of them cost. This will give you a better idea later on when comparing the apartment vs your budget. It’s very possible that after touring, you lean on a smaller apartment or you upgrade to a bigger apartment due to their floorplan.
- A leasing agent will temporarily hold onto your driver’s license.
Part 2 – Touring the Apartment(s)
- A leasing agent will escort you to the floor model via walking or golf cart (depends on distance).
- S/he will point out different aspects of the area (i.e. there is the mailbox, package center, swimming pool, dumpster, etc) as y’all are walking towards the first model home.
- When inside the apartment model home:
- … feel free to take pictures or videos with your phone. Just know that the leasing agent does NOT want to be in your photos/videos at all. So they will stand in a corner where they cannot be seen in the video. Please help them protect their privacy!
- …ask any questions you may have.
- If you are not in the model home, but the actual apartment that is open for rent, check the plumbing and water pressure i.e. flush the toilet, turn on the sink, shower etc. Have a look as to where all the outlets are and internet cable connection too, so you know where you want to set up your modem/router with your furniture in mind.
Part 3 – Touring the Apartment Complex
Note that order wise, this can be switched with Part 2.
- A leasing agent will show you the community amenities: gym, swimming pool, and common entertainment areas.
- S/he will also show you where the mailroom is where you’ll receive mail from USPS. And then there is usually a separate location on where you will pick up your packages from Amazon, UPS, FedEx, etc.
- A leasing agent will also show you the different parking options available as y’all walk back to the office.
Part 4 – At the Office (special promotion offer)
- A leasing agent will try to sell you in to sign the lease at that very moment. This is common but you do not need to feel totally pressured to sign it. They will let you know what their special promotion is, which can range from receiving all admin fees waived to getting one month’s rent paid for. Regardless of what it is, they will hold the offer for you at most 1-2 days. Because of this, you really want to make sure you have look at the apartments in-person when your shortlist is truly a shortlist.
- A leasing agent will provide you an application cheat sheet of all of their fees. Here’s an article of all the fees you should be expecting.
Part 5 – Follow-up via Email or Phone
- A leasing agent will follow up with you via a phone call or an email to see if you’ll sign with them.
- If you do decide to go ahead with an apartment, they will send you an online application to complete.
Life is a journey and you’ll be changing different apartments for different reasons! Have a look at the rest of my Apartment Hunting Tips collection of articles that will help you narrow down your search even more!