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25 Vital Questions to Ask When Touring an Apartment

Posted: May 21, 2024
A leasing agent shows a couple the kitchen of their recently updated rental unit. You should have questions to ask when touring an apartment.

When searching for your new rental unit, it should feel like home sweet home that fits your needs and lifestyle. It shouldn’t be a series of surprises. While touring an apartment, don’t just be wowed by the space, but make sure to ask the right questions as well. That’s why Moving Help® curated 25 vital questions to ask when touring an apartment.

After asking your questions, you can put your mind at ease and sign your lease with confidence knowing there won’t be any surprises down the road.


Questions to Ask During an Apartment Tour

It’s important to have questions to ask on an apartment tour because it’ll signal that you’re prepared for the tour. It should be noted you should request to see the unit you’d live in and not the “model unit” when visiting an apartment complex.

Now, let’s get to our 25 vital questions.


1. How Much Is Rent and What Are the Leasing Terms?

It doesn’t matter whether the studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartment has all the bells and whistles when it comes to amenities if you can’t afford it. It’s recommended to only spend 30 percent of your income on housing. Of course, in 2024, finding affordable housing even with roommates can be a struggle, so you’ll need to decide what works with your budget for the total rent — base rent, taxes, and extra fees.

You also need to know what the leasing terms are for the apartment. Some apartments have month-to-month, three months, six months, 12 months, and 15 months for leasing options. You might be able to get a lower rate if you agree to a longer leasing term like 24 months or 36 months. Different leasing options also might have different rent prices.

2. Are Utilities Included? If Not, What Companies Are Used and How Much Are They on Average? (Example: APS or SRP)

Some places might include utilities, and some places might not include utilities. You should ask them what the low end, average, and high end is for utilities. This way, you can figure out whether the rent total and utilities will fit into your budget. Your utilities might include electricity, gas, water, trash, sewer, internet, and more.

A couple begins to unpack their kitchen belongings from their U-Haul ready-to-go boxes, which are plastic moving boxes. The couple celebrates living in their new apartment.

3. Am I Allowed to Sublet the Apartment?

If you study abroad or will be away for several months, you might want someone to sublet your apartment. That way, you’re not paying for housing for two different places, especially a place where no one is living. Some apartments will allow a sublet, and some places won’t, which is why it’s good to know ahead of time.

4. Are There Any Refundable or Non-Refundable Security Deposits and Fees?

You’ll most likely have to put down a refundable security deposit. Some places might require a non-refundable security deposit along with your refundable security deposit, however.

The apartment complex will probably have an application fee along with other fees. Before you fill out any paperwork and submit your application, you should be aware of all deposits and fees.

5. What’s Your Pet Policy?

If you own a pet or want to own a pet in the future, you’ll need to know what the apartment’s pet policy is. A service dog should always be accommodated along with no pet fees. An ESA pet might not have a pet fee associated with it if you provide the apartment complex with a doctor’s letter.

Otherwise, you’ll need to learn what kinds of pets, the breeds, and the weight they accept. Additionally, you’ll need to figure out how many pets you can own and the total cost.

6. What’s Your Guest Policy?

At one point or another, you’ll probably have company over. You should learn how many guests can visit, how long they can stay, and where guests can park. If you and your best friend plan to use the pool or weight room, you’ll want to know the rules for guests using the amenities.

7. How Do You Accept Payment for Rent, and What Are the Late Fees?

You should learn how payment for rent is accepted. Most apartments accept and prefer online payment. With that said, some places might prefer or accept other options such as a paper check.

You also need to learn when rent is due each month, is there a grace period, and if you miss paying your rent, what are the late fees.

8. Do You Allow Renters to Terminate the Lease Early? If so, What Are the Penalty Fees?

Life happens unexpectedly, and you might come across a time where you need to end your lease early. Most places might allow you to terminate a lease early, but you’ll have to pay penalty fees associated with ending a lease early. You’ll want to know now whether breaking your lease down the road is worth it.

9. Do You Require Renter’s Insurance?

Most apartments might require you to have renter’s insurance and a certain amount covered with your renter’s insurance. On top that, the place might require you to put them down as the “First Additional Interest” on your policy.

10. How Do I File a Maintenance Request and Who Makes the Repairs?

It’s inevitable that something might briefly stop working or break down altogether. One of the best perks as a tenant is you don’t have to worry about the cost, finding someone to fix it, or fixing it yourself. Your landlord is responsible for having a maintenance team to fix it for you.

You should find out whether you can make a request online, need to call the main office, and who will fix the repair. Some apartments might have their own maintenance staff on-site, and some places might use a contracted third-party maintenance team to come fix your problem.

11. How Do I Make an Emergency Maintenance Request?

Sometimes an emergency maintenance issue might arise. For example, your A/C or heater broke, a pipe is busted, or someone else’s apartment has a water issue that’s now leaking into your unit. You should learn how emergency maintenance requests can be made during business hours and outside of business hours.

12. How Do I Make a Complaint?

While no one wants to complain about something, these situations do occur. You might have a noise complaint, a rude neighbor, or something else. If something comes up, you should know how to contact someone to get your concerns addressed.

13. What’s the Parking Situation Like?

This question is more important than people realize. Most communities have their own parking spaces for residents, but if you live downtown in a city, they might not have a parking area within the community. You should find out how much a parking space might cost, how close you can expect your parking space is to your home, and parking for guests.

These are all fair questions to ask because it’ll help you determine whether you need to find an alternative to parking or how guests might visit you.

14. What Other On-Site Amenities Are Included at the Community?

You should always know all the on-site amenities at the apartment complex. If the rent is high because they offer so many amenities, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll use all the amenities to make it worth it for you.

You also might have some amenities that are deal breakers for you, such as wanting a pool, hot tub, or a dog park.

15. What’s the Safety Like Here? What Safety Features Are Included?

Safety is always important. You don’t want to live in a place where cars are constantly broken into every night by thieves. You should know how the gates work, who can gain access to the community, and any other safety features such as a night patrol.

You also should ask about safety features within your apartment. Does the apartment have a smoke alarm, a security system, or safety features for your front door?

16. What’s Your Pest Control Policy? What If I Have an Additional Pest Problem?

Pests hang out year-round, but with a pest control service, they should be kept at bay. You should learn what the pest control policy is, how often does a pest control team visit the community, and what you need to do if you’re having additional pest problems inside your home.

17. Are There Plans to Update the Rental Unit or the Amenities in the Future?

Communities are typically trying to keep up to date with their facilities and rental units to attract the best tenants. You need to learn whether the community plans to renovate, update, or build anything new to the rental unit or the amenities.

The reason being is if you get a brand-new amenity, they might try to increase your rent the next time your lease is up for renewal because of the new amenity.

18. How Much Notice Do You Give Before Entering the Home?

You’re allowed privacy within your home, and most places have a policy about how much notice they’ll give you before entering your home. For example, if they replace your A/C’s filter for routine maintenance, they might give you 48 hours of notice or more about them entering your home.

You also need to know what kind of notice you’ll receive during an emergency — maintenance or otherwise.

A woman opens a kitchen cabinet to see the inside of it while she’s on her apartment tour with the leasing agent who is standing nearby. Moving Help compiled 25 questions to ask when touring an apartment because these questions can help you determine whether this apartment is a good fit or not.

19. Are There Any Quiet Hours?

Everyone needs to sleep at some point, and your community might have quiet hours every day or Monday through Friday. You need to know how long quiet hours last, what days quiet hours will be enforced, and what to do when a neighbor obnoxiously breaks the quiet hours.

20. Am I Allowed to Add a Roommate to the Lease Later on?

You might decide you want to live with a roommate to help with expenses, or you might want your significant other to move in with you after their lease ends. Some apartments might allow you to add a roommate in the middle of your lease, but some places might not.

21. Am I Allowed to Hang Decorations onto the Walls Such as Wallpaper?

Most places should allow you to decorate your walls with decorations, but some places might require you only use specific items like double-sided tape, damage-free hanging strips, or non-drilling options.

Some apartments might allow you to make small holes into your walls with a drill. Make sure you follow up on whether you need to patch any holes you made to the rental unit. Some apartments might want you to patch all the holes you made, but some places might not want you to patch your holes at all as it’ll be easier and faster for them to do it themselves.

22. How Do I Receive Packages? Do You Use Parcel Lockers, Fetch, or Something Else?

We all want our packages to be safe from package thieves when packages are left at our door. That’s why an apartment complex might use parcel lockers for you to pick up your packages. Some places might use a third-party company like Fetch to deliver your packages. They also might do something entirely different like all packages going to the front desk staff, and you have to pick up your packages from the front office.

23. What’s the Neighborhood Like?

You should learn about what the surrounding area is like for the community. Is the place close to a highway, interstate, or a popular roadway to get work? Does the neighborhood have a ton of fun restaurants, shopping, and activities nearby? Do residents get along with one another?

Location, location, location. Location is always important to keep in mind when searching for a place. It might be a great community, but if everything you do is 45 minutes to an hour away, it might not be worth it to you to do all that commuting every day.

24. How Often Does Rent Increase and by How Much?

This is a fair question, and something that’s on everyone’s mind these days in 2024. Some places might raise rent every time you renew your lease. Other places might increase rent depending on the time of year and demand. Some apartments might rarely increase rent, if at all.

If this place is on the more expensive side of what you want to budget for rent, and you want to live here for a while, it might not be feasible if rent increases every year at a ridiculous rate.

25. If Given the Opportunity, Would You Want to Live Here and Why?

You should save this question for last. At the end of the tour, they’ll ask you whether you have any remaining questions. This is your opportunity to insert this question. This question will give you many insights about the apartment and the community.

If the leasing agent gets excited about the place, you might’ve found a potentially awesome place to live. If they look away or don’t get excited about the place, they might not be telling you something you can’t see — thin walls, noisy neighbors, pest problems.

The key here is to read the person’s body language. Sometimes it’s not what they said, but what they didn’t see that’ll give you some clues and insights about this place.

Advice on Questions to Ask on an Apartment Tour

You should ask as many questions as possible while touring an apartment. It’s your right, and it’s important to get all the facts and information needed to make an informed decision on where you’ll live soon. It’s also a big decision that shouldn’t be rushed either.

Leasing-type questions — such as how much is rent — should be asked prior to going on the tour. Questions about the amenities — such as what other on-site amenities are included — can happen when you see them. If you have specific questions about the actual unit — such as, am I allowed to hang decorations onto the walls — ask them when you’re inside the unit. You also can sprinkle in questions throughout your tour — such as what’s the neighborhood like.

This is your opportunity to get to know the property, rental unit, and the landlord better during a tour.

Finally, you should make sure you’re polite and respectful when asking all your questions.

Asking Apartment Tour Questions Is Important for You

You don’t want to get into lease agreement where you’re surprised when signing the dotted line or living midway through your lease agreement. Whether this is your first apartment or not, you should ask as many questions as you feel comfortable with to make a confident decision afterward.

Touring an apartment is more than just seeing a nice, new place. It’s about getting to know the place better than you can when viewing the website. Moving Help compiled 25 questions to ask when touring an apartment, so you have a list prepared no matter what. Of course, you can ask other questions that weren’t on our list or omit questions from our list that don’t apply to you.