You’ve found what seems like the perfect apartment in your dream location that’s right in your budget. But don’t let your heart overrule your head. Here are four things you need to look for during an apartment final walkthrough before you sign on the dotted line at your closing.

Is it Safe?

Your apartment is supposed to be your sanctuary, so it’s vital that you feel safe in it. During your walkthrough, look out for basic safety features like working smoke detectors and available fire extinguishers. Apartment complexes should also have a clearly-displayed fire escape plan.

Examine the doors and windows closely. They should fit well within their frames and open and close easily. Their locks should also be sturdy for your protection. In addition, there should be a deadbolt on your main door.

Turn the lights on and off to ensure there are no sparks. You should also test the outlets and look for electrical problems.

Look for additional features that can give you added peace of mind. Carbon monoxide detectors are less common than smoke detectors, but they’ll sniff out a gas leak before you can. Also, look out for windows in the bedrooms that are large enough to escape from during a fire or other emergency. Approved safety gates on the windows can also help you rest easy.

Is the Plumbing Sound?

The plumbing should be perfect when you move in. Test it by flushing the toilet and running the faucets to check for leaks. The faucets also shouldn’t drip when you shut them off. Make sure you look underneath the sinks and around the toilet and tub for tell-tale drips, damp patches, odors, and water stains.

Don’t forget about the shower either when you’re testing the water. It should have adequate pressure and heat up promptly. Ask the realtor whether your apartment has its own hot water heater, or whether the unit is shared amongst several apartments. This could impact the availability of hot water during peak times.

Are the Appliances Working?

Your dreams of cooking up gourmet meals or finally eliminating that growing pile of laundry could be put on hold if you find that your appliances aren’t working. This is another factor that should be on your apartment hunting checklist. Ensure the refrigerator and freezer can keep items cold, the washer and dryer are functioning, and the air conditioner and heater both work. Remember to test each burner on the stovetop individually, as well as the oven and broiler underneath.

Are There Any Contract Disclaimers?

It’s vital to read through the rental contract carefully before you sign it, noting all of its terms and any contract disclaimers that could nullify the lease. These may spell out conditions that could have serious ramifications for your rental term. For example, a disclaimer may state that you take responsibility for any damages not reported at the start of your lease. If this is the case, you’ll need to diligently document any problem areas and raise them with your landlord before beginning your tenancy.

Look closely at the details rather than getting swept away during your apartment walkthrough to make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for.


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