People Reveal The Most Important Things To Ask Before Renting
A popular financial magazine recently published an article claiming that by age 35, people should have twice their yearly salary saved. People responded ... preeeeeeeeeeetty much how you probably just did. The internet collectively scoffed and pointed out that the financial world isn't what it used to be. With student loans, inflation and insecure career prospects, our goals aren't the same as they used to be. Things like owning a home, having years worth of money in savings, etc. just aren't as easily achieved anymore.
That means more and more people are renting as opposed to purchasing. With all of these people renting for longer, it's important to know what to look for in a rental. One Reddit user asked:
What are the most important things to ask/check when viewing a new property to rent?
We saw answers from property experts, people with horror stories, pizza lovers and at least one person who maybe has never heard of sunglasses... click ahead to read more!
Go to the property at night and see what the noise is like.
I used to have a neighbor that bought a set of 4-foot tall neighborhood-thumper speakers and decided to start blasting Skynyrd at 12:30 in the middle of the damn night on a weeknight in an apartment building with walls that might as well have been made of cardboard. Like, sh!t hanging on my walls would rattle, and I had stuff falling off of shelves.
I went over and knocked on his door and asked him to turn it down because I had to work the next morning and he told me to go f*** myself because it was his apartment and I couldn't tell him not to.
For the next two weeks or so, he'd fire the speakers up at random times and play one of the same three country songs on repeat for an hour or so before shutting them down.
I'd call the cops and if they'd show up they'd just tell him to knock it off, and he'd turn it down, then half an hour later, he'd pump it again, and the cops had "better things to do" than to come deal with him all the time.
So I watched and figured out his work schedule, then, on a night before he had to work at 6am, I fired up my surround sound at maximum volume blaring Marylyn Manson at midnight, and left that running for about 45 minutes.
I think he got the message because it was never a problem again.
I work for an apartment property investment company. A new thing we implemented when looking at properties to buy is we see if we can order pizza to that location. If they won't deliver there, it's not a good area.
We made the mistake of a corner lot two blocks from downtown with a stop sign. This a somewhat country town, lots of lifted trucks and ridiculous exhaust pipes. Apparently this is where you can peel out and accelerate to 70 mph to the next stop sign. I'm somewhat used to it now but sheesh that sh!t is obnoxious.
I always check if the shower is getting hot and has proper flow. I'll never forget living in my first student flat in a cold winter where the shower wouldn't get hot. That was beyond fucking annoying.
Also check for mold.
No one seemed to mention this... but as a kid who grew up in a roach infested apartment in a bad area. The first thing I do when looking at a place is go into the cabinets and crevices and check for droppings. Yes roaches leave tons of s***, even if the owner tries to clean it up, if there are bugs you'll eventually find some droppings. As someone who went through that once, forget about noise and water pressure, this is the most important thing to check for.
No Internet? No Lease.
What your Internet options are.
And I mean really check. Call the ISP, give the full address, maybe even start filling a request and cancel it in the middle just to see if they can reach your area. A month ago I moved into an apartment that seemed fine. I was waiting a month before getting internet just to make sure I could afford it.
The modem gets mailed to me. It was then that I discovered there were no phone jacks in my apartment... except for one, all the way in my bedroom, that was heavily painted over and looked like it was intentionally concealed. Anyways, it didn't work and AT&T had to send a technician. Of course the phone line was shot, and he had to drill a hole in the wall to get a new line through.
But lo and behold, the guy who sold me the service over the phone lied to me about qualifying for service at my address. It's out of range, as the technician tells me. This is all despite the fact that I live in a decently sized populous city and all. The guy on the phone also lied about the speed, as he assured me this speed was good for gaming and streaming, but the technician told me that the speed could only handle light browsing and no streaming.
"Built To Code"
If your realtor says "built to code", that means they made the building as crappy as legally possible.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Check the signal on your phone.
Forgot about that with the house we bought 3 years ago. I can maybe get 1 bar if I stand in the doorway of the master bathroom. Ended up getting a microcell booster because we'd like to be able to call 911 in a real emergency. Which will hopefully not happen during a power outage. The house was built with a landline connection, but no telecom companies are servicing landlines anymore. They're only doing internet phones, which will not work during a power outage.
This is in a suburb of Dallas. We're 1.5 miles west from the nearest cell tower, which is oriented North-South. Our subdivision is on a peninsula in a lake.
We really like this house. It's as old as we are, and will need work in the coming years but, it was a great fit for us from the first walkthrough.
Know Your Landlord!
And know how much notice the landlord has to give before showing up for whatever reason. Ideally, you want an expressed term of time. I had a lease that stated "reasonable" notice and the law only required the same. As a result, my landlord thought four hours notice was reasonable when I wouldn't even get the message of my phone until much later. I thought 24 hours was reasonable.
Another landlord would give... 20 minutes notice? He'd show up to "check the fire alarm," while I or my roommate was in the shower. Happened more than once. Finally, I googled the law and my state requires 24 hour notice. He and his wife were just banking on the idea that we were all dumb kids. I emailed him the law. When I moved out, he screamed at me that I was not a lawyer and can't quote law to him (I was mentioning the fact that they had built a makeshift locked gate on the fire escape - illegal). He also called me despicable. Get that notice in writing. You can ask for changes to leases before you sign.
If you're in an apartment complex, check that there aren't a million petty signs up in the foyer telling you what you can't do. A few signs about legitimate issues is to be expected, but if you're finding a bunch of notices about things like a bag of trash outside the door for an hour, kids laughing too loud, parking etc. it's a giveaway that your neighbors are gonna be a problem.
I'm a paramedic and have been to an untold number of communities ranging from super high-end to complete nightmares. Regardless of the price range of where you are considering go look at the dumpsters. Nothing will tell you more about the community than how the residents treat the dumpster areas. If you are a jerk that has no regard for other people and is okay just slinging your excrement nonchalantly a community of decent people is not for you.
What utilities are included in the rent, not just this but asking what those total costs are.
On average what is the gas, water and electric bill. I rented a place where it wasn't included (which is fine) and the electric bill was insanely high. There was no insulation in walls to keep heat in so furnace was running constantly. I wish I'd asked the costs.
*Another User Responded: *
The first apartment I ever got was with my sister. We lived in a decent two bedroom and our electric bill was crazy high. I just thought it cost that much. Then she moved for a job, I got a smaller one bedroom apartment, and I thought my first electric bill was a mistake. We had been paying about $300/month and my first bill in my new apartment was $25. Well, no, it wasn't a mistake. The old apartment was basically just walls, no insulation at all, and in Louisiana this means the A/C was trying to cool not just the apartment but the whole neighborhood.
Bed bugs. I moved into an apartment, and when a neighbor moved, I got their bed bugs. It's been hellish, costly, and I just moved back into my apartment last week from staying at my parents for a month. Bought a new bed, and guess what? I might still have them. I don't know. It's like A Scanner Darkly, I'm terrified of itching now.
Here's the rage inducing kicker. I told my apartment manager about the issue, in hopes that they would spray or heat treat for them- since it wasn't me that brought them in. Nope. It's on me. Oh, and if I don't get it treated, they will charge me the cost of getting the place treated and possibly take me to court.
You do not ever want to risk getting bed bugs. It has cost me not only thousands of tangible dollars, but also forced me to get rid of just about every single article of clothing I own, many other possessions (bed, couch, etc), and more than a month of my life.
All because my apartment manager was too cheap to properly treat the units.
(Don't) Go West
Avoid living west of your work if you drive there. Sun in eyes both ways everyday sucks.
Count the outlets. Two per room aren't enough! Also, the number of light fixtures. For some reason, where I live most of the apartments do not have light fixtures in the living room and bedroom areas, so if you forget to buy lamps you have to spend the first night in the dark.
Who are all of the previous tenants? How did they die? How long did they live after moving into this property? Was the property built on sacred land?
Horror movies have totally prepped me for this.
As an asthmatic currently having a s*** time thanks to this, have a good look at the ceiling corners in your bathroom. Mold might just be orange discoloration, or straight up black fuzzies.
Moving in June, thank Pete.
If you are a nonsmoker you're going to want to be sure your apartment has either never had a smoker in it or has been properly cleaned since an indoors smoker lived there. If a long-term resident also smoked indoors, the smell will have permeated in to the walls, carpet, and even the cabinets depending on how long they lived there and how heavy they smoked. Make sure the carpets have been professionally cleaned and open cabinets and closets and sniff for smoke smells. If you smell them, minor cases of bad smoke smells can be fixed with a new coat of paint and steam cleaning the carpet.
Curtains Not Included
I signed for a beautiful condo that had stainless steel everything, very modern, the works. This included floor-to-ceiling windows. Awesome, right? Wrong. This place didn't have curtains included. I'm talking at least 12 ft windows, sun in my eyes, and visible from the bed. The issues here:
1. There are no curtain rods long enough for the width of the windows
2. There are no curtains long enough for the height of the windows
3. Curtains are !@#$ing expensive when you have to have them custom made, including the damn rod. 4. The building could have not allowed modifications to the walls, which means you can't put up curtains (rare, but happens).
Remember: Just because you see it during the open house/showing, doesn't mean it'll be there when you move in.
Should Be Spotless
As a land lord let me give you this piece of advice when you are looking at apartments. Look. Take a look at every thing from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. Is the lawn cut? Is the building landscaped? Is the entry way and hall ways clean. Same goes for the apartment, if it's empty it should be spotless. Try every faucet, flush every toilet, make sure there aren't any drips. Are the door knobs loose? Are any of the windows crack/broken. All of these things are indications on how your apartment will be maintained. If the place looks like shit on the outside chances are your LL isn't going to be rushing over to you place to fix a leaky faucet. If an apartment is empty when you view it, it should be perfect and if there is something wrong ask the LL and if they don't say we'll fix it immediately move along