All the Questions You Should Ask When Apartment Hunting

All the Questions You Should Ask When Apartment Hunting

Why you should care

Can drill the walls? This and other questions you should ask before moving into your new apartment

Regret is a powerful emotion, but no one writes songs about the things you didn’t say before committing to your apartment. We help you ask the right questions.

Whether you’re renting or buying, avoid buyer’s remorse with this handy checklist.

1 What and How Do You Have to Pay?

Ask your agent about what you must pay upfront. Some places expect you to be responsible for your own utilities and maintenance fees, while others include them in your rental. Get a guess-timate on what the monthly utilities usually come up to and keep an eye out for power guzzlers like old air conditioners or leaky pipes.

What’s the policy on repairs and maintenance – what happens if the washing machine or water sources break down? Who pays for the bi-annual filter changes? If you’re required to fork out your own money (or even if you’re not!), you should test out all appliances for wear and tear. Knock on the walls, peer into ceiling corners for crumbling plaster, and check the flooring for any loose boards and bits.

Read this for more tips on spotting house hunting deal-breakers.

home repair planDo your research on sites like Iproperty or Propwall before your visit where you can find a full list of facilities offered. Take note of the ones you want to take advantage of – parking, gym, barbeque area, etc.; then be sure to ask your agent if these are included.

Most importantly, agree on when and how your payments should be made. If rent is expected every third week of the month but you’re living pay check to pay check because of your addiction to online shopping, negotiate a different payment period that suits your needs and habits better.

2 How Safe is It?

We recommend scheduling your viewing for late in the evening. (Also, bring a friend!) This is especially important if you usually come home after dark. Ask your agent to show you your parking spot and/or the entrances you would use if you were taking public transportation.

You should also check out the walkways you would take back to your apartment; make a mental note of security guards you see, other tenants who are milling about at this hour, and whether you would be required to take dark, unlit routes.

If it doesn’t look safe or ideal, don’t worry, you don’t need to forgo a great apartment! Instead, ask for units in denser blocks or one that’s closer to communal areas.

dark carparkMore and more apartments are being purchased for their potential investment value; this can sometimes mean empty developments with very few tenants. Be sure to voice your concerns if the area seems unusually quiet or unpopulated. Low residency numbers may also make it more difficult to lobby for safety changes that affect everyone, like asking for more street lamps or getting an unclean pool looked into.

3 How Convenient is It?

Other than parking, you also need to know where your trash goes at the end of every bin bag. Is there a chute on every floor or will you have to walk all the way to a larger disposal space?

Ask about how service providers will be handled. Who collects courier packages and will they be handled delicately? Will food deliverymen be allowed to come to your unit or will you need to trek all the way to the guard house in your vintage Power Rangers pyjamas? Is there a convenience store that’s open at all hours? What about a laundromat? These daily doings can be a painful surprise if you’re not prepared for them.

The same goes for facilities within your apartment – make sure there are no deal breakers like poor water heaters or if your unit doesn’t have a washing machine, a lack of laundry facilities.

You should also take note on whether there are sufficient lifts and facilities for the number of residents in your complex. An after-work viewing also allows you to check out traffic conditions in your area.

4 Does Everything Work as it Should?

Other than appliances and building materials, you should test all faucets for water pressure and heat. Walk through the unit with your phone and check your signal. We also recommend bringing your modem for a test drive. Alternatively, ask your agent which internet service provider most tenants use – you may need to break a costly contract with your own provider in some cases.

Sleepy Asian ladyAnother reason for late viewings is that your new neighbours will be home too! Check if you can hear them through the walls or floors in all the rooms; you don’t want your midnight Netflix marathon ruined by distraught infants or their equally distraught parents.

However, we also suggest a second daytime visit to figure out if your unit gets enough natural light and air circulation.

5 Are There Other Policies I Should Know About?

Ask your agent for a list of apartment-wide policies on things like usage of facilities, guests, etc. that can cause issues if you frequently have people over. Can they use the communal pool? Where do they park? Is there a different sign-in procedure for especially late visits?

You also need to discuss and be clear about your landlord’s own policies. What kind of temporary or permanent renovations are allowed – repainting, hanging up paintings, all the things you need for your Instagram follower count.

renovations in apartment


If you’re renting a space larger than your needs, ask in advance about subletting policies. Can you rent out a small room or feature your unit on Airbnb when you’re out of town?

6 When Can I Move In?

Some landlords will allow you to move in before the first day of your payment month, so be sure to check! This allows you time to clean up, move in, and iron out any other issues without unnecessarily extending your lease on your previous place.

Why you should care

Can drill the walls? This and other questions you should ask before moving into your new apartment

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