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All-Inclusive Guide to the Apartment Process

  • Emily Rice

Emily Rice

5 min read
All-Inclusive Guide to the Apartment Process

Whether you’re new to the whole moving thing or not, we want you to feel prepared.

There are nearly a hundred things that you’re probably taking into consideration when looking for an apartment to call home. Things from location, to amenities, to cost, and utilities. Just when you think you have it all under control - you made your decision, something else pops into your mind. And, here you are again, back to square one, rethinking your decision.

Except, we don’t want you to feel uncertain. After all, this will be your new home. Your home should be everything you want. To help you feel confident in your decision, we have a come up with a guide that will walk you through the process from start to finish when deciding which apartment to move in to.

Rent Questions

What’s included in the rent?
What utilities are included in the rent?
If utilities aren’t included, what’s the typical monthly cost of each?
Water: $_____
Heat: $_____
Electricity: $_____
Gas: $_____

Animal Questions

Some apartments are animal friendly, and others are not.
check to see if pets are allowed? Y/N
If the pet fee for a cat the same fee for a dog? Y/N
Dog fee: $_____
Cat fee: $_____

Amenities Questions

Does the apartment have air conditioning? Y/N
Do the units have washers/dryers? Y/N
Are there washers/dryers on the property? Y/N
Is there a cost to use the machines? If so, what is the cost? $_____
Does the cost cover the use for both the washer and dryer? Y/N
Is parking available? Y/N
Is there a fee for perking? If so, what is the cost $_____

Does the community have a…

Fitness Center?
Game Room?
Pet Spa?
Movie Room?
Community Room?
Other: _________

During a Showing, check:

• Lighting
Notice the natural lighting. You don’t want your electric bill to be expensive.

• Locks
Do they work properly? Would you feel safe alone at home?

• Windows
Place your hand around the windows to see if you feel a breeze or cold/hot air coming in. You won’t want the outside temperature affecting the temperature inside. See if the windows are old or drafty?

• Faucets
Do the faucets leak? Do the faucets look rusty?

• Toilets
Are they operating correctly?

• Shower Pressure
Check to see that the water is running and meets your standards.

• Tile and Grout
You want to wash in a clean place. Is everything well-kept in the bathroom or is it scummy?

• Walls
If the walls aren’t well-kept, it’s a reflection of the property owner.

• Closet Size
Can you manage with the size of the closet?

• Cabinet Size
Is there enough storage space?

• Carpeting/Floors
If the flooring isn’t well-kept, that’s a reflection of the property owner. Notice the floors not only in your unit, but also in the entry way of the building and in the halls.

• Appliances
Are items up to date? Or will things constantly break down and need fixing?

• Outdoor Landscape
Is the landscape well maintained? Does the outside appearance meet your standards? This can give you an idea of the property owner.

• Outlets
Check the location of the outlets, the number of outlets, and if they work. It can help you with future planning.

• AC/Heat
Do the systems operate correctly? Do they do their job?

• Neighbors
Get a sense of who lives there. Do they seem friendly, reserved, and easy to get along with? These are the people that you’ll see regularly around your home.

• Landlord
The person who showed you around, what is your impression of them? Do you feel comfortable with them? Do they seem positive?


  1. Location
    If you’re moving to an entirely new city or state, it can be overwhelming. It’s a city/state the you may not know nothing about. Take some time to know where you’re moving to. Know the crime rate, the employment rate, the demographics, etc. Know the people you’ll be surrounded by.
  2. Convenience
    Learn about what’s nearby. For instance, if you’re looking to live in Forest Lake there are lot of restaurants, shopping, and things to do in the city – same with Blaine. Feeling comfortable with the places nearby should help you make your decision. Where’s the closest grocery store, movie theater, gas station, or bowling alley.
  3. Comparable Rates
    It doesn’t hurt to look at neighboring communities to see what their going rate is. That way you’ll have a better understanding if a community if way over their head or similar with the trends. And who knows, maybe you’ll find another apartment to consider. It’s always good to keep your options open.

Leasing Questions

Know what’s agreed upon before signing the lease.
Are there additional fees for signing later? Y/N If so, how much? $_____
Are there additional processing fees? Y/N If so, how much? $_____
Is there an option to sublease? Y/N
Are there subleasing fees? Y/N If so, how much? $_____
Are the approval fees? If so, how much? $_____
Are there fees for breaking a lease? Y/N If so, how much? $_____
Is there an option to renew your lease? Y/N

Prior to Move-In Questions

The property owner says that the unit will be thoroughly cleaned before you move in, but what does that mean?
Does the cleaning include:
• Baseboards
• Carpet
• Ceiling Fan(s)
• Entryway
• Oven
• Refrigerator
• Walls
• Fresh Paint
• Stove
• Tile and Grout
• Windows


After signing the lease, look over the entire unit. Make note of all the things damaged before your stay so that you are not charged for the repairs when you leave. Give a copy to the property owner and keep one for reference for yourself. Remember to sign it and date it.

Now that you’ve taken these things into consideration, we hope that you’re more confident in your decision.

One final thing we encourage for you, always see the property before signing a lease. Trust your instincts. Create a list of needs and wants in an apartment. What things are deal breakers and things that you can live without.