So you have narrowed down your apartment search and decided to check out some of your options. But when going to an open house, don't go empty handed! There are a couple things that you can bring to make your open house experiences more beneficial and worthwhile.
To be prepared when attending an open house, make sure you bring these 10 things:
1. The "Apartment Checklist"
Bring along a copy of the apartment checklist so you can record any information you receive and your general thoughts about the apartment you are viewing. That way, when you are trying to decide between various options, you will have a record of your feelings about each apartment and can make a more informed decision.
2. A list of questions
Often times it is the landlord who shows you an available apartment so it is a good idea to take along a list of questions to ask. Rather than trying to remember various questions, take some time before you go to an open house to create a list of everything you would like to know about the apartment, the property, and the surrounding area.
3. A pad of paper and a pen
You are going to want to record the landlord's answers to your questions so you will have them available for future use. You can also record your thoughts and experiences, sketch the floor plan and layout of the apartment, and jot down any additional information you receive.
4. A Camera
You may want to bring a camera along with you to have a visual reminder of each apartment. Take pictures of the rooms in the unit, the building and its features (think fitness area, common rooms, hallways), and the surrounding areas. Make sure to record both things that you like and things that you do not at each apartment building.
5. A friend or family member
"Two eyes are better than one" and, when looking at apartments, this is especially true. It is helpful to bring along a friend or family member who can see things you might have missed. While, ultimately, it is your decision where you decide to move, it is good to gain another's perspective when making your decision.
6. A Blank Check
You will often be asked to fill out a rental application when attending an open house. If you are interested in the place, you are going to need to have your bank account number. Unless you have this number memorized, carrying a check with you is an easy way to have this number easily-accessible.
7. Your current landlord's contact information
Most landlords will want to talk to your current landlord, so make sure you know his or her full name, telephone number, and mailing address.
8. At least two references
Furthermore, many landlords would like to check with your references before approving your rental application. Make sure to confirm that these people would be willing to serve as your references before giving their contact information over to the landlord.
9. Past paystubs
Many landlords would like to see proof of employment and income, so be prepared to show your previous pay stubs or anything that shows your earnings.
10. A Business Card
Bringing a business card is not essential, but it does convey proffesionalism and responsibility. Also, if you do not fill out a rental application at the time that you view an open house, it is an easy way for the property manager to have your contact information.
Return to the Renters Guide