5 (often overlooked) Questions You Absolutely Must Ask
- What’s the Condition of the Home?
Is it held together with duct tape and a prayer? Or have major repairs been done in the recent past – ie: new electric, new pipes, mold remediation etc. You’ll want to know the condition of the floors, walls, and ceilings. Are the windows solid, or do they invite a gale force wind to blow through your living room? Is there water damage, a rotten smell or is it beautifully maintained and without issue?
- How Are Requests for Repairs Handled?
You’ll want to know how quickly they’re handled and by whom. What happens if something breaks on a weekend? Are you allowed to call for repairs and they’ll reimburse you? Do they have an understanding or an account with a particular provider? Nobody wants to live with a broken toilet or clogged drain over a holiday weekend.
- Utilities, Your Dollar or Mine?
Some places include all utilities and cable. Some only water and trash. Some include nothing at all. You’ll want to know exactly what your monthly bills are going to look like before you commit (or overcommit) to a place. Also check out where the heat sources are and if they’re effective, and the same with air (is there a breeze and fans or will you be leaving the freezer open in summer just to cool down?)
- Parking, Where’s My Spot?
Some places come with assigned parking, some have garages, and for others it’s street parking only. If that’s the case you’ll want to know if you’ll be circling the block every evening, or if the street is always empty. You might need a parking pass, and you’ll want to know the rate of car break-ins. Check it out before you’re stuck for 12 months.
- Is My Deposit Refundable?
Deposits can be tricky, and most tenants don’t exactly know what they are and aren’t responsible for when they leave a rental, effectively gambling with their money. You’ll want to know the exact terms of the deposit, where it’s held, and if any part is non-refundable. Go through the pre-move in inspection, take pictures, and make notes, but also ask for a move out checklist of everything you’ll be held responsible for and the costs.
Renting can be a simple way to live, as long as you know what you’re getting into before you haul your furniture through the door.
Get to know your landlord, and get them to help you paint a picture of what living there will be like. This is one area where doing your research and asking lot of questions will really benefit you.