Things to Consider Before You Sign the Lease

sign lease imageChoosing a new place to live is a daunting task. From looking through endless advertisements to visiting properties and meeting with managers, you have a lot on your plate. When people are overwhelmed it is easy to make haste decisions. But, before you commit to a particular lease there are a few questions you should ask to make sure it is a sound decision.

Keep Track of Where You Go

When you visit multiple apartments it can be difficult to keep track of what you saw and where you saw it. Simplify keeping track by bringing along a notebook. Write down the address of the property, the date and time you visited, who you met with and what you saw. Write down a few details that will help you decide what apartment is right for you when you sit down to compare. These can include:

What is the rent?
How close is the new place to school and/or work?
What are the lease terms?
Is it close to other amenities such as a gym, grocery store or local attractions?
How is the parking situation?
What is the neighborhood like?
Settling In

You will want to ask each property manager how much you can do to your apartment to make it more like home. Are you allowed to paint? What are the restrictions when it comes to hanging stuff on the wall? Finally, ask what you have to do to prepare the apartment for a move out.

Long-Term Commitment Considerations

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. If you are locked into a long-term lease and you get a new job, what will happen with your lease? Find out what options the property manager has, such as one-year, six month or month-to-month lease terms. Find out how much notice you have to give and what your options are if you have to move before your lease is up.

If you plan on having a roommate, find out if your roommate needs to be on the lease. If so, you will want a roommate you can tolerate, because if the relationship goes sour, it might be difficult to remove just one roommate from the lease in the middle of the lease term.

Questions to Ask Property Management

You need all of the details before you sign the lease. These details should be in your lease and include:

  • What day of the month rent is due and what day late fees are assessed.
  • What the security deposit is and how much you get back when you leave.
  • What the penalty fee is for breaking the lease early.
  • What utilities you are responsible for on top of your rent.

Picking a new apartment should be exciting. If you feel overwhelmed, slow down and take a break. There is nothing worse than getting locked into a lease on an apartment you don’t like. So, before you sign the lease, make sure it is the apartment you want to commit to.

Jan 2014