Monday Moments: 10 Questions to Ask When Apartment Hunting

We are officially back in Dallas for the next few days!! We were in LA for 5 days and we really did hit the ground running looking for a place to live. We visited apartments, condos and homes to see what we could get in our price range. We literally looked at maybe 25-30 different places you guys so I can say with confidence that I learned A LOT and I want to share that with y’all in today’s Monday Moments post!

I learned very quickly in LA that if you know your move in date, don’t come looking for apartments until 1-2 weeks before that date! We first came in May to look around and were told that was way too early and when we came now (3 weeks in advance) we found ourselves in a pickle because a) most places were available now and in order to hold that apartment, you had to have your lease date within the next 2-3 days to reserve it or b) you can push your lease date until later but then you have to pay for the increase in rent! Yup! The rate that the leasing agent is giving you at the time is the rate for right now (or sometimes they push it for another 2-3 days).

10 Questions to Ask When Apartment Hunting

  1. Is parking included in the rent price?
    • Out of everywhere I went in LA, the answer I received was split 50/50. Some places included either 1 or 2 parking spots in the listed rent price, others charged $100 for just one space!!
  2. What additional fees will I be expected to pay on a monthly basis?
    • Based on my experience, you’ll be charged water, electricity, parking, cable/internet (if you want, some come with a bundled fee!), trash/sewer, and renter’s insurance. There were some complexes I ran into that charged an ADDITIONAL water fee for their own community pool and jacuzzi so watch out for that!
  3. How quickly does maintenance take care of emergency requests?
    • This one is important! If you have a broken toilet or A/C isn’t working, you definitely want maintenance to have an emergency line to where they address these issues within a few hours! Check to see if your building has on-site building managers/landlords that can help take care of problems!
  4. What is your pet policy?
    • This may or may not be relevant to you but if you have a pet or looking to get one, this is definitely worth asking! Maybe even asking if they have a dog park would be helpful to you!
  5. What is the guest policy and where can they park?
    • Oddly enough, I ran into one complex that would charge for visitors to park in their complex. That was a big no-no for us.
  6. What kind of security does the apartment complex have?
    • Doorman? Buzzer system? 24/7 security?
  7. How does packaging work?
    • This is huge for me since I get tons of packages a day. I’ve seen complexes have packages just laying out on the floor right next to the mail room and you can bet there is some theft going on there! For me, it’s better if leasing holds on the package and you get notified or they have a parcel system where packages go into a specific mailbox for you and you can get an automatic notification!
  8. What are some penalties I should be aware of (i.e. late rent, not picking up the mail within a certain period of time, etc)?
    • In my complex, if you don’t leave your trash out properly outside, you get charged a penalty after your first warning. I also learned in LA that some complexes charge if you don’t pick up your package within 3 days in the parcel locker. Obviously, this is from the parcel company directly but they’ll still charge ya!
  9. Are there any promotions going on right now?
    • A lot of times, you’ll find a place that is offering one month free if you lease within a certain amount of time. Keep in mind though when it’s time to renew and if you plan on staying, your monthly rent will most likely increase dramatically!
  10. What other amenities does the apartment offer (i.e. fitness center, pool, etc) and what time do they open/close?
    • For us, we wanted a complex with a pretty sizable gym so when our 24 hour fitness membership expires, we wouldn’t have to renew it at all!

I hope this helps you guys a bit if you are apartment hunting! You definitely want to ask any and all questions up front so you’re not hit with random fees and penalties later down the line. Anyway, I’m off to catch up on some sleep but we’ll chat soon! 💙

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11 Comments

  1. October 16, 2017 / 1:46 PM

    Definitely great suggestions to think about. My brain would be mush if I looked at 25-30 apartments. btw I love your dress with those booties. Too cute!

  2. October 16, 2017 / 2:25 PM

    These are all great questions to ask if you’re looking to rent a place! I’m so happy to finally be a homeowner but I remember trying to find an apartment to rent in SF was such a challenge and super competitive!! Good luck finding your place in LA and PS I love this dress!!

    xo, Laura
    http://www.have-need-want.com

  3. October 16, 2017 / 10:44 PM

    Such a perfect dress, and awesome tips for apartment hunting!

  4. October 18, 2017 / 7:02 PM

    You are such a beauty!! That dress looks fantastic on you…..love it with the booties!!

  5. October 19, 2017 / 12:18 AM

    that’s exciting you’re moving to LA! love all the tips!

  6. October 19, 2017 / 9:49 AM

    This post is really helpful! When we were looking for an apartment earlier this summer, we could have used your advice!

  7. October 20, 2017 / 10:09 AM

    Loving these tips! Definitely a good checklist to keep in mind. Pet policy is a big one for me, and it’s crazy how much places are charging for pets these days!

    -Tristan

  8. October 23, 2017 / 8:15 PM

    SO many of these move right on to house hunting, too!! GREAT advice 😉

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