Real Estate Rentals: What To Consider Before Signing An Apartment Lease

Did you know that the expansion of the renter population has outgrown that of homeowners in several big cities? However, although renting can be exciting for tenants, it could also leave them with issues if they don’t conduct a thorough walk-through before signing a new lease. Even worse, tenants may fall victim to a rental scam. If you’re interested in real estate rentals and would like a foolproof head start in finding online apartment listings, you definitely need to consider adding the following to your walk-through checklist.

Photo of a couple moving into their new home


Your budget is one of the biggest deciding factors when renting, as you do not want to break the comfort of your lifestyle or live above your means. Take cognizance of your monthly income and weigh it against all your expenses for groceries, insurance, car payments, debt, and entertainment. Did you know that the ratio of rent to earnings can be up to 30 percent of your salary? Be sure to include your utilities in your budget, as well as, the security deposit for when you first move.

You should also consider your credit check and rental application fee. Also, if you cannot afford the rent, you may ask someone to co-sign for you. This person would validate your lease by signing a contract. You could also select this person if you have no previous rental history, or if you have a poor credit history. Also, if you have pets and they are allowed in the apartment complex, you may need to pay a pet deposit or monthly fee.

Does the apartment have parking?

As you’re browsing real estate rentals, try to find an apartment that has an inside parking bay or garage. This is ideal, as parking in the streets is not the safest option for your vehicle or yourself. You may also want to consider inside parking for the safety of your guests who have cars. Also, if your real estate rental comes with inside parking, be sure to ask if it is offered at an additional cost so you can budget for it.

Is the apartment well-maintained?

Do check for tiny holes in wooden flooring, as this could indicate a bug infestation. Be on the lookout for stuffed crevices too, as this could mean that your apartment has mice or rats. Turn on the bathroom and kitchen faucets to ensure that the color and pressure is right. Leaks can become a huge problem with mold formation.

This could have a detrimental effect on your health, so check for damp spots on your walls and ceilings. You should also check if your floors are uneven, as this could indicate a leak.

For your own safety, check if the door and window locks close adequately. If there’s a shower, do check if it’s working, and flush the toilet to listen for any leaking sounds. Also, check for any leaks in the stove’s gas line. It’s also best to look out for any evidence of attempted break-ins.

Mobile and Internet Connectivity

Thriving in the digital age is largely dependent on great cellular reception. So if you’re not receiving a decent signal during your apartment check and you are largely dependent on your cellular phone, you may want to consider looking at other real estate rentals

Also if you work from home often, be sure to ask your potential landlord if your lease includes WiFi. You should also check the strength of that signal while you’re there, as some signals are poor. Also if you work from home often, be sure to ask your potential landlord if your lease includes WiFi. You should also check the strength of that signal while you’re there, as some signals are poor. Smart landlords look to add great features like these to attract renters. Smart landlords look to add great features like these to attract renters.

Is it a good fit for your belongings and taste?

Consider your personal taste, the size of the apartment, and the size of your belongings during your walk-through. For instance, does the architecture complement your personal taste? And is the space large enough for all your belongings?

As a rule of thumb, you should always first measure items like dressers, couches, beds, and cupboards before your walk-through. This will save you the frustration of having to leave any of your favorite furniture behind.

On that note, if you’re renting a furnished apartment, be sure to check if the appliances are all working. Take a peek at the washing machine to see if the wash cycles are in order. You should also check if the oven and stove plates heat properly.

Is it a safe neighborhood?

Did you know that escalated crime rates could have an adverse effect on your personal finances? This is largely due to decreasing real estate values and theft. Higher crime rates affect vehicle insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and renter’s insurance too.

It’s therefore vital to check for neighborhood crime information before renting. Consult your local sheriff or police department for this. You could also use online services such as Spot Crime, Crime Reports, or Neighborhood Scout. Spot Crime allows you to search for criminal activity as per your potential address or ZIP code. You could also register with them for text or emailed crime alerts for that area.

Crime Reports give you access to police criminal records. All you need to search for these are your address or ZIP code. Neighborhood Scout gives you access to real estate or violent crimes in the area, as well as demographic information about the neighborhood. You could also ask the neighbors about the safety of the area during your apartment tour.

The increase of real estate rentals is currently trending in the US real estate industry. It’s therefore wise to conduct a strict walk-through of potential apartments before signing a lease.