After a long and laborious housing hunt, the time has finally come for you to tour a prospective home. You’ve scheduled a visit with the property owner, and you’re ready to go! Here is a list of things to keep in mind when touring a property:
- Take a friend or family member with you.
It’s always helpful to have a second opinion! They might notice things that you otherwise would have missed. Also, if you have arranged the tour appointment online and are not personally acquainted with the person who is showing you around the property, it’s wise not to go alone.
- Bring a camera, cell phone, notebook, and pen.
You want to be able to take pictures and record all the details about the property. You won’t remember all of it later!
- Bring a list of questions to ask while you tour the unit.
Don’t be shy! This is your opportunity to ensure that there won’t be any unpleasant surprises for the duration of your lease.
- Which utilities are included in the rent? Are Internet, hydro, and electricity included?
- Do I have to pay a security deposit?
- What is the method of rent payment?
- Are the building tenants mostly families, students, or retirees?
- How safe/quiet is the building? Are there security cameras or personnel?
- Do I have to pay for parking?
- Where do I dispose of my garbage and recycling?
- Who is responsible for apartment maintenance and repairs?
- How old is the property/when was the building constructed? Have there been any major changes or renovations? (The older the building, the more likely maintenance problems are to result from old ceilings, windows, plumbing, or flooring.)
- Examine the property.
Take your time, and do not hesitate to really scrutinize the space when you’re looking around – this is your potential home. Take pictures of each room. Check the doors, windows, and locks. Flush the toilet, run the water in the sinks and showers, check the water pressure and temperature. Take note of (and photograph) any damaged walls or carpeting, as well as any broken fixtures or appliances. Look in the cupboards and the corners under the sink – this is where the insects tend to hang out. It hadn’t occurred to me or my roommates to check those spaces for evidence of any gnarly sort of infestation, and we were not exactly thrilled to discover a whole bunch of tiny new multiple-legged friends doing the congo in the back of our spice cupboard shortly after we moved in.
- Be polite.
At the end of your visit, thank the landlord or property manager for showing you around. Be cautious when it comes to making a snap decision or signing the lease on the spot – if you are interested in the property, you can tell the landlord that you are interested, and will be calling him or her soon.
- Speak to current tenants in the building.
Trust me, it’s not weird, and it’s a wise thing to do. If you don’t know any of the tenants personally, hang out in the lobby and see if anyone passes by. Explain that you’re thinking of moving in and ask if they have a minute to answer a few questions. Ask if they feel safe living in the building. Ask if they enjoy living there. Ask if they have had any problems with the building or building management. Ask if the landlord or building manager are dependable and responsive to repair requests. The building tenants do not care if you move in or not, and might be more honest as a result. You won’t regret it!
- Visit as many properties as you like.
It’s good to have a number of options to compare. Once you decide which property best suits your needs, make sure you know everything you need to know before you sign the lease.