Finding a new Colorado apartment can be just as overwhelming as it is exciting. With so much to consider, knowing what things to look for in your next rental can help as you narrow down your options.
Before you sign a lease, be sure to tour potential apartments and see them in person. There may be situations where an apartment tour isn’t feasible, such as if you are moving from out of state, but even a virtual tour can help give you a more accurate view of the apartment. Ask the landlord or property management if they offer a virtual tour if you are moving from afar.
Here’s everything you need to know about touring new apartments, what questions to ask, and what to look for when touring an apartment to get the most out of your search:
Why Should You Tour Apartments?
Apartments can look one way online and in listing pictures and another way when you see them in person. When you tour an apartment, you can see for yourself all the pros and cons of the space and imagine how it would work for your lifestyle.
An apartment tour also allows you to talk to the property manager and even potentially visit with new neighbors to get their input on the property.
There are also many factors beyond just the unit itself that can impact your decision of which apartment to rent, such as the location, safety, access to public transportation, and neighboring buildings and businesses. An apartment tour can open your eyes to any potential red flags in these areas.
When you tour a potential apartment, you have all the information to make an informed decision about the best new apartment for your needs.
How Long Does An Apartment Tour Take?
An apartment tour can take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on what there is to see and how many questions you ask. In general, expect to spend between 30 minutes and an hour at the apartment. Many property managers schedule multiple apartment tours on the same day, often every hour or two.
Some apartment buildings may allow you to walk in for a tour, but for best results, call the property manager beforehand to schedule an appointment. If you’re planning to share the apartment with a spouse, partner, or roommate, be sure to have them there for the tour so you can discuss the pros and cons of the unit.
Questions to Ask When Touring an Apartment
An apartment tour goes both ways—it’s a chance for the property manager or landlord to show off the property, but it’s also a time for you to ask questions and decide if it’s the right apartment for you. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions so you have an honest and complete view of what it’s like to rent that apartment.
How is safety around the apartment?
Home should be the place where you can feel safe and secure, so start your apartment tour by paying attention to the safety features of both the apartment and the complex. Some of the most important questions to ask when renting are about safety. Check for features in the apartment like secure doors with locks and deadbolts in good working order, locking windows and screens, and fire extinguishers and sprinklers. Outside, check for good lighting in the hallways, walkways, and parking lots and other security measures like gates or keyed entry into buildings.
Ask the landlord about the safety of the unit and what measures are in place to keep residents secure. If you get the chance to talk to a current tenant, ask for their honest feedback about the apartment’s safety and if neighbors look out for each other.
When the tour is over, drive or walk around the neighborhood to check the overall safety. Things like people walking or running outside and working streetlights are signals that the neighborhood is fairly safe.
Questions About Apartment Quality
You probably have a list in your mind of the features that are important to you within the apartment such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms or the size of the kitchen and living spaces. Start by looking at the size and layout of the rooms. Online listing pictures might not paint an accurate view of the space. Look at the storage space and how well your furniture will fit in the apartment. Be sure to ask about additional storage, such as if residents have access to private storage units.
After you’ve looked for the big things, take a closer look at the little things that can have an effect on daily life. These in-unit amenities can impact your lifestyle at the apartment. Look for them yourself, and be sure to ask the property manager about things including connectivity, such as the internet connection, availability of cable or satellite TV, and cell service.
Check the quality of the water, both for drinking and showering. Ask about washer and dryer hookups or if the unit comes with a washing machine and dryer. If the apartment has a shared laundry room, ask to see it during your tour to check that it is in good condition.
Ask about the condition of appliances like the oven, stove, and fridge, including how old they are. Turn on the sink and shower to check the water pressure. Check the light switches and toilets, and look for water damage or signs of mold throughout the apartment. You can even ask the apartment manager if there has ever been flooding or significant damage to the apartment that was repaired.
One benefit of renting an apartment is that you have access to more than just your single unit. Many apartment buildings and complexes provide additional resident amenities.
Be sure to ask what amenities are included, such as a gym, pool, common areas, or outside space, and ask to see it during your tour. Find out if these amenities are included in the monthly rent or require an additional fee and how often residents are able to use them.
An apartment tour is also a great time to check out the parking situation and ask if parking is free, if residents have reserved parking spaces, and where guests park. Find out about mail and package delivery, as well as community services like trash removal and landscaping upkeep. In Colorado, it’s especially important to find out about snow removal, including what areas are shoveled and if residents are responsible for removing any snow.
The apartment manager likely included some details about renting the space on the listing, but an apartment tour is a great time to ask important questions about the process and learn more about the unit’s procedures.
Ask basic questions like the monthly rental cost, the length of the lease agreement, details of the lease terms, and the security deposit amount. Find out if residents are responsible for paying for utilities or if there are additional fees for pets or roommates, including a potential pet deposit. If residents are responsible for paying utilities, ask about the average utility cost at various times of year, such as January when you’ll be running the heat, and July when you’ll be running the air conditioner. Ask about the process of applying for the apartment, what is required, and how long it will take to hear back if you got the apartment. Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts or move-in offers!
You should also ask about the maintenance request process and how long it typically takes for issues to be fixed. If possible, ask current residents about the maintenance process for honest feedback about the responsiveness and quality of the maintenance team.
Even if you find the perfect apartment, you should carefully consider the neighborhood and the location within the city you live in. Your commute to work, the proximity of grocery stores or entertainment, and crime rates in the area are all important considerations.
When looking at a neighborhood, consider things such as how long it will take you to get to work, the stores, gas stations, and restaurants nearby, access to public transportation, nearby parks or outdoor areas, and the local schools. An apartment tour is a great time to walk or drive around the neighborhood to see the traffic and general feel of the area. Imagine your life in that neighborhood to see if it fits what you are looking for in a location, both from the environment and the convenience. If possible, ask current tenants what they like and don’t like about the apartment’s location.
Finding your next great apartment can be challenging, but an apartment tour is a great way to get a feel of the unit and the area. Take your time with apartment tours and don’t be afraid to ask questions. When you come prepared, you can make a great decision about where to live.