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5 Key Questions to Ask During Your New Apartment Search

Renting a new apartment is exciting. But before you can unpack and decorate, you’ll need to find the perfect place.

It’s easy to fall in love with an apartment and want to sign a lease right on the spot. However, it’s important to keep a clear focus so you can find the one that’s right for you.

How do you know if the apartment you love is the one you should lease? By asking questions beforehand!

Asking these five questions during your apartment search will help you find the place of your dreams:

#1 What are the Terms of the Lease?

No matter where in the world you live, your lease should include details about how much the rent costs and when it’s due. Your lease should also outline where to pay it (In person? Online?) and disclose any late penalties.

Before you sign the dotted line, make sure that you understand everything about the lease terms.

You should also ask how far in advance you need to give notice when you’re ready to move out. Thirty days is standard, but some landlords may require more notice.

It’s also important to know how long the landlord wants you to stay. Is the place open for just this year or can you renew it when it expires? If they’re only seeking short-term tenants, you might be looking for a new place eleven months from now.

Every lease should also specify any move-in fees. Many landlords require first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit from all tenants. In some cases, there could be other fees as well, such as elevator or maintenance fees.

#2 What Utilities are Included?

It’s crucial that you stick to your budget – and being able to pay the rent is only part of it. Ask your landlord if tenants are responsible for their own utilities. If you have to pay for water, heat, and electricity in addition to rent, make sure you know upfront so you can factor it into your budget.

There are other things you may have to pay for as well, such as laundry services. If there’s a laundry facility on the property, ask the landlord if you must pay to use it.

#3 Can Non-Tenants Enter My Apartment Without Notice?

Knowing who can enter your apartment is critical for your safety and well-being. Look into the rules about landlords, maintenance workers, or property managers entering your unit.

Find out if people can enter your apartment when you’re not there. Ask how much notice they have to give you before entering. And make sure this detail is included in your rental agreement!

You should also have a solid understanding of your maintenance policy. In other words, who should you call if the sink links or if the heat stops working on a cold night? Knowing the person responsible for repairs can save you a lot of future headaches.

#4 Are There Any Rules About Guests?

Certain landlords have strict rules about overnight guests. Some might not allow any overnight guests, while others might not care at all. Some landlords even offer parking passes to guests who need a place for their car!

Make sure you understand the guest policy before you sign your rental agreement, especially if you intend to host friends from out of town. You don’t want to invite a friend to spend the week only to find out that you’re not allowed to have anyone stay for more than a night.

#5 What Can/Can’t I Do in the Apartment?

Knowing what you can do in the apartment is just as important as knowing what you can’t. This includes everything from painting to hanging artwork to adopting a pet.

Before you move in, ask the landlord about things like parties, smoking, decorating, and pets. Whether you plan to do these things or not, you’ll be able to find out if your neighbors are allowed to do them. That way, you can avoid moving into a smoke-filled apartment if you don’t smoke.

The more you know ahead of time, the better off you’ll be. If you wait until after you move in to ask these questions, you may be shocked at how many limitations your landlord has in place.

For example, some landlords may say their apartment is pet-friendly when, in reality, they allow cats but not dogs. Some might allow dogs that are under a certain height and weight.

If you have a pet or are considering adopting one, you should know the pet policy. Get answers to all of your questions beforehand so there are no surprises when you sign the lease.


Apartment hunting can be a lot of fun. But it’s easy to fall in love with a place without knowing all the details. Before you commit to a contract, you should know what you’re getting yourself into.

Ask about the lease terms so you know how much rent costs and how much notice you should give before moving out.

Ask which utilities are included and if there are any unconventional fees. Know who to contact about emergencies and whether they’re allowed in your apartment without permission.

Make sure you know the property’s rules and regulations, too. Can you have pets in your apartment? Guests? Can you paint or hang wallpaper?

The best tenant is an informed tenant. And the best landlord/tenant relationships are those based on clear communication. When it comes time to sign a lease for your new place, ask any questions that come to mind.

If the landlord isn’t willing to answer them, run!

Author bio:

The Smith Valley Forge offers refined apartment living in a prime location adjacent to the highly sought after King of Prussia Town Center with over 45 shops and restaurants steps away.