It’s best to be prepared before going on an apartment tour. Apartment tours can be fast-paced, so you don’t want to forget anything. Write down a list of questions before you tour so you don't forget. Here are some common questions to ask:
1. What’s Included in the Rent? What Isn’t? Rent is almost never the only expense you’ll have when living in an apartment. Many apartments will have other mandatory fees in addition to the monthly rent this could be water, gas, trash, pest control, parking, and/or renter's insurance, for example. Some apartments may include some of those fees in the rent. Almost all apartments require you pay your electric bill on your own.
2. When is rent due? Is there a grace period for late payments? How much are late fees? Where do I pay? It is imperative to pay your rent on time and in full so make sure you have all the information about paying.
3. What's the qualifying rental criteria? What are the fees required to apply? What is refundable if denied? Texas law requires apartments to give you a copy of their tenant selection criteria BEFORE you spend any money applying. You want to review it make sure you meet their minimum requirements, ask questions if you are unsure if you meet a certain requirement. The application fee is almost always non-refundable and sometimes the admin fee is not as well.
4. How do I submit a maintenance request? What if it's an emergency? Is there a maintenance staff member on-site 24/7? If not, what happens if your A/C stops working in the middle of summer, your toilet floods or some other unimaginable maintenance issue arises? The onsite agent should be able to give you the protocol on dealing with maintenance issues.
5. What parking does the apartment offer? Do you have a designated space? First come - first serve? Parking can be a nightmare at some complexes - causing you to park far away from your unit.
Don’t be shy about asking questions on an apartment tour! Write down what you learn so you can reference your notes when comparing apartments later.
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