So you're getting ready to look for a new place? Once you use our rental housing search to find some potential places that you would like to rent, the next step is to go check them out.
Open Houses are a strange mix of you interviewing the landlord as well as the landlord informally interviewing you. You want to make sure that you cover all of the things you need to know about your potential place. At the same time you want to be presentable, because the landlord is going to be deciding who is going to be the best person to rent his place to. It is much more desirable for a landlord to rent their apartment to a quiet, clean, studious person, than a wild, dirty, party-loving, college kid. It is only a few minutes long, so just pretend. You don't have to wear a suit, but make them believe that you are the best candidate to rent the house.
Here are some of the main things you should inspect while at the Open House:
- Check the outside of the house for damages (paint, drainage, driveway, etc)
- Check the walls, floors, ceilings for signs of damage or leakage.
- Check if the roof has leaks and ask if it is certified
- Flush toilets and run water from the sinks
- Check and ask how old the water heater and air conditioning/furnaces are
- Check the circuit breakers and electrical outlets to make sure they work
- Check the appliances like the dishwasher, garbage disposals, oven, etc.
- Check the smoke detectors
- Check out the neighborhood. You can often get a feel for your house by looking at its surroundings.
You should also ask the landlords about the maintenance of the house or apartment. Find out what you are responsible for and what they cover. For example, some places may hold you responsible for the cleaning of drainage systems. If your place floods because of clogged drains then you will have to cover the cleaning and repairs. It is never a fun surprise, so find out ahead of time.