Whether you’re looking to rent an apartment or to buy one, there are no shortcuts to the process. Either way, you need to do a lot of research. It also helps to look for tips, in case you’re missing anything. Learn from other’s mistakes and trust those with experience, unless you’re paying them.
If you’re looking to rent:
Before you sign anything, test all the appliances to see if they work properly. It may be a bit time-consuming but it’s best to do this now and to point out any inconveniences than to have to pay for the repairs yourself or to have to wait a long time for someone to come solve the problem.
Check if there are any noise-related problems in the area. For example, if the apartment is located close to an airport or train station, you’ll most likely find this disturbing. Ask the landlord what are the rules regarding noise and you should also talk to the neighbors about the same problem.
Ask if the apartment you want to rent will be furnished or not. In most cases, they include tons of furniture in which case you may want the landlord to remove some of it. It’s also possible for the apartment to be rented completely empty and to have an ugly surprise when you want to put your clothes in the closet.
Check the cabinets to see if there will be plenty of room inside for all you want to store but also to see if there are any signs of bug infestation, mold, etc. Don’t be superficial.
Read the lease before you sign it. Your landlord may seem like a very honest and great person but you never know. Check if indeed you sign for the period you’ve agreed on and if there’s no ambiguity.
If you’re looking to buy:
You must like the location. So don’t let the agent fool you with an apartment that’s located in an area you don’t like, even if it’s cheap and spacious. It’s better to wait and find something in one of the areas you like than to wake up every morning and realize you’re in the middle of nowhere, with all your friends on the other side of town, forever alone.
Don’t be superficial and only look at the view. You have to inspect everything. Check the plumbing, the floors, the walls, even look behind the furniture. If the apartment is empty, it will be easier for you to do all this.
Even if you like an apartment, don’t put in an offer just yet. Re-visit the place in the evening, in the morning and during weekends to check if there’s a lot of noise, traffic or if the area looks safe, secure and not creepy.
Check the parking space situation. The agent or the current owner may tell you that it’s fine and you usually find a spot but don’t trust them, even if they may be right. Go see if there’s the possibility to buy or rent your own parking space or if there are any other ways to deal with the problem.
Talk to the neighbors. It’s important to know who the people living next to you and across from you are and also to see if they’re the type that come ringing at the door every time you raise the volume when watching a movie. It’s important to also know the average age of those living in the building.