Melisa Raney
couple taking pictures of apartment

Signing a lease is a big deal. No matter if it's month-to-month, six-months or a year or two, it's a commitment. A commitment that's tough to get out of. So, before you sign on the dotted line, you should heavily weigh your decision.

Visiting an apartment complex is a huge step in the decision-making process. But when you're visiting multiple complexes, all of those places can start to run together.

Do this immediately after or during your visit

So, what's the first thing you should you do immediately after your visit or even during? Take notes on everything you saw. Everything. This way it's all fresh on your mind and you can compare notes later when you make your final decision on where your new home will be.

Here's a few things to pay attention to on your visit.

1. Exterior appearance

exterior of apartment building

What are the grounds of the apartment complex like? Is the landscaping maintained? Is the building's exterior well-kept? Is there siding missing? Shingles missing off the roof? These can all be signs that the complex itself isn't properly maintained.

2. Staff friendliness and attentiveness

rental office employees

What are the people like who work there? Are they welcoming? Do they seem put off by your visit? These are people you could be dealing with frequently so it's best to be sure they're friendly to work with – especially if you have an emergency.

Also, try to talk with someone who lives at the complex. Asking someone how their experience has been can offer up a lot of good information. Residents are generally willing to take a few moments to share their experience.

3. Interior condition

apartment interior

When visiting a unit itself, take notes on the condition of the property. Does it smell weird? Is the carpet clean? Has it been recently painted?

Most apartments have model units, so ask to see another one that's currently empty. It can give you a better idea of how well-maintained the other units will be.


Take pictures during your visit

Photos can help you remember everything you saw. Take a picture of the sign to take note of the name of the complex and then proceed with documenting your visit.

Photograph the exterior of the apartment building you may rent. Take pictures of the kitchen, the living room, bedrooms, bathroom and amenities. This way you can go back and have a visual idea of each place.

Have a checklist

Make a list of key things you're looking for in your next home. How much can you afford in rent? Do you absolutely need a gym and pool? What's the parking situation like? Do you care what floor your home is on?

It make take some time but visiting several different apartment complexes can help put your mind at ease once you do sign your lease. If you're living in an area where rentals move quickly, knowing exactly what you want and being prepared during your visit can help you feel more comfortable in making a hasty decision.



About The Author

Melisa Raney

Melisa is a former television news reporter turned freelance writer (because standing outside during hurricanes got old fast). Some of her work has been featured on CNN as well as local TV stations in Florida and North Carolina. Melisa currently lives outside of Atlanta and is a mother of two wonderful kids who occasionally make her head explode.