While these things can sometimes slip your mind, the perfect time for potential tenants to ask questions is when they have the property manager's undivided attention during a tour.
For first-time renters, it can be easy to forget these sorts of inquiries. Worse, many folks don't even know the right questions to ask.
"Potential tenants forget to take in their surroundings," says Lynn Edmondson, regional manager of Wendover Management. "The most common thing they overlook is checking cellphone reception. No one wants to move into an apartment to only discover there is no cell service."
Other little things people should take in while on a tour include how clean the building is and how they're treated by the property manager. First impressions can tell you a lot about what living at a particular property will be like, Edmondson notes.
But most important are the responses you get out of the property manager. Some questions should be knee-jerk, like asking which utilities are included. This is an important piece of information you should get out of the property manager early in the tour as some or all utilities may not be included in the price.
"When utilities are not included in rent, potential tenants should ask about average utility cost, as this may significantly change how much they will pay each month," says Edmondson.
While there's no shortage of questions you should ask when touring a rental property, many of them may not be as obvious as others. Here are the top 10 questions you should be asking:
10. What is the guest policy?
9. What are the hours of the apartment’s facilities (pool, fitness center, etc.)?
8. Can I sublet or list my apartment on Airbnb?
7. How old is the AC unit in the building?
6. Can I decorate the apartment without losing my deposit?
5. Does the apartment require renter’s insurance?
4. What happens when there’s a maintenance problem?
3. Does the apartment allow pets? If so, is there a pet deposit?
2. Is the apartment offering any discounts or special offers?
1. Is there parking? Is there a fee or permit required?
There are some questions, especially those pertaining to damages and how to recoup your deposit, that property managers may be vague on. For the most part, though, they'll be straightforward about the different policies and amenities they have.
Next time you're touring a rental property, don't get too caught up in your surroundings, and be sure to ask some of the important questions listed above.