You have finally found that perfect apartment, but if you don’t have all of your ducks in a row, you could miss out on actually getting the perfect apartment. Just because you have found one you like doesn’t mean it’s yours. In fact, that’s far from reality. There are other applicants just as interested, the place could have some mechanical issues or there might be a gross neighbor next door you don’t know about. So, before you assume you got it, make sure you take the right steps to getting it.
If You Like It, Ask for an Application Immediately
You’ve walked through and you’re ready to get that apartment, but make sure you get an application. Most applications come with fees, which can range from $10 to $50 depending on the apartment building. Don’t be pressured into filling out an application by the landlord though — sometimes they tell you there is someone else applying just to speed up the process and fill the vacancy.
Fill Out the Application Right
The application is long, and you might not have the time to do it, but don’t skip anything on that application. You need to get your application in and approved before someone else does. Because, landlords only care about who is ready to pay and move in right now — not who needs to get their stuff together first. Fill it out entirely and supply any other information required. You may want to check with the landlord about credit requirements before even applying — most will tell you their minimum credit score for applicants.
Read the Rental Agreement
Just because you’re approved doesn’t mean you have the apartment — nothing is finalized until the lease is signed and you have keys in your hand. You need to read the rental agreement thoroughly, because it is a binding contract. Read things about how maintenance is handled, your security deposit, special charges that can be added to your rent, etc. Then, before you sign, inspect the apartment. While they are supposed to tell you about what is wrong with the apartment, not all landlords are known for their honesty. A few things to check before signing:
- Do the toilets flush?
- Do all of the lights work?
- Does the refrigerator and stove work?
- Does the door lock tightly?
- Is there mold present anywhere in the building?
- Do you see flaking paint?
Write down anything you see and make sure the landlord knows about it. While you might lose an apartment because you require the landlord to fix something before you sign a lease, be thankful. Because you wouldn’t have wanted to live in an apartment where the landlord wasn’t honest or willing to do routine repairs.