As experienced Dallas apartment finders, we do more than just match people with luxury apartments for rent in the Dallas area. We also have expert knowledge on all the ins and outs of the apartment rental process – including making sure the walkthrough goes off without a hitch. Knowing all the minute details to look for during that initial meeting can help you avoid making a mistake that could potentially cost you for months or even years to come. Whether or not you choose to work with us, we’d like to pass our knowledge along to you.
So, before you sign on the dotted line, here are 35 critical things to check for when looking at a potential rental property.
- Location/Surroundings – Before you even step foot into a property you’re considering renting, take a good hard look at where it is located and what the surroundings are like. Does the neighborhood seem safe? Is it close enough to public transportation? Is it situated right next to a busy intersection? This can help you weed out the properties you probably don’t want to bother wasting time on in the first place.
- Parking – The beauty of many luxury apartments for rent in Dallas is that they are ideally located in very walkable neighborhoods as well as close to safe, reliable public transit. Of course, if you happen to own a vehicle, you’ll want to make sure the properties you’re looking at feature adequate parking. You may also want to ask whether it’s assigned or first come, first served, as well as what the policy is for guest parking.
- Entrances – Is the apartment building’s entrance area properly secured? Does it require a key to enter or is there a buzzer system or call phone? Are there ample security features located at and around entryways, such as good lighting and security cameras?
- Stairways/ Elevators – Similar to entryways, are the common stairways and elevators well-lit and safe? Do the elevators work properly? Are they situated close to the unit you’re looking at?
General Lighting (Exterior) – How is the overall lighting in and around the common areas of the building? Places to check include the street entrance, garage or parking area and lobby. If you visit during the day, you may want to come back at night to verify this information.
- Doors – Check to make sure entryway doors are in good shape and open and close easily. Another important safety feature to check for is a peephole/door viewer. Also look for signs of tampering, such as scratches or dents.
Locks – All exterior doors should feature functioning locks. Don’t be afraid to ask whether or not the locks are changed at each tenancy turnover. If the answer is no, you may want to look elsewhere. At the very least, you will probably want to inquire about changing them yourself upon move-in.
- Interior Lighting – What kind and how much lighting is available inside the apartment? For instance, is there overhead lighting or will you need lamps? Flip all light switches to verify that the lighting is in good working order. Flickering could indicate a potential problem with wiring.
- Windows – Are all the windows functioning (i.e. can they be opened and closed with ease)? Double check to make sure none are painted shut. Do they have working locks? Screens? Are there (or will you need any) safety bars?
- Window Coverings – If there are things like shades and blinds, verify whether they’ll come with the apartment or if you will need to replace them yourself? If it’s the latter, find out what’s allowed. (Most luxury apartments for rent in Dallas come with ample window coverings for privacy.) Double check existing blinds to make sure they aren’t bent or broken.
- Ceilings/Walls – As you walk around the rental unit, don’t forget to look up at the ceilings. Look for signs of water damage or mold. Check for peeling paint or cracked plaster. Likewise, check the walls for damage, paint issues, peeling wallpaper and general cleanliness.
- Floors – What kind of flooring does the apartment feature? Carpets? Hardwood? Linoleum? Tile? Take a close look to make sure carpet isn’t dirty or frayed, wood isn’t scratched or water stained, linoleum isn’t peeling and tiles aren’t chipped, cracked or uneven.
- Closets – What is the storage situation? Are there enough closets throughout the apartment? Is there ample space for storage of clothing, shoes and other accessories? What about the kitchen, pantry or bathroom? Are there food, linen or utility closets available? If closet space is limited, ask whether the building offers space for storing things like bikes and other gear.
- Cabinets – Check each cabinet door and drawer – in both the kitchen and the bathroom – to make sure they open and close easily.
- Countertops – What is the condition of the countertops? Are there any cracks, chips or stains? If the countertop is made of tile, check to make sure there are no chips and also no missing grout.
Signs of Infestations – Chances are you aren’t interested in sharing your home with vermin, like mice or cockroaches, so check carefully for any possible signs of a problem. Look in crevices, such as closet corners, inside drawers and under cabinets for things like droppings or shedding. (Thankfully our Dallas apartment finders work only with reputable property managers, so this is rarely an issue.)
- Appliances – Make sure all appliances that come with the rental unit are clean, complete and in good working order. Verify that the refrigerator is running and that the freezer is defrosted. Also check the condition of the stove, microwave and dishwasher.
- Electrical Outlets – Are there enough outlets throughout the apartment and are they conveniently located? Bring along a cellphone charger or other small electrical device to check for any electricity issues. Also make sure none of the outlets are hot to the touch or buzzing.
- HVAC – One of the most common (and most important) questions we get as apartment locators in Dallas is whether or not the units we’re showcasing feature central air and ample fans. These things are essential – especially during the sweltering hot summers we have – so make sure all fans and HVAC units are working and regularly serviced.
- Smoke Detectors/Fire Alarms – Safety is of critical importance in choosing a place to live, so check to make sure there are ample working smoke detectors throughout the unit (preferably in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on every level). Also inquire as to whether the building itself has a functioning fire alarm system.
- Sinks/Tub/Shower – Check the plumbing in showers and tubs as well as in and underneath sinks to ensure there are no leaks. Also look for any signs of mildew or drains that don’t work properly. If the unit has a garbage disposal, check this as well.
- Toilet – Is the toilet secure and does it flush properly and completely? Does it fill adequately? Make sure there is no running water in the tank.
- Water – Is the water pressure good? Does it heat up quickly and adequately? Does it run completely clear? If possible, turn on the shower and flush the toilet at the same time. This will allow you to check the pressure.
- Laundry – Does the unit itself feature washer/dryer hookups? If not, is there a common laundry area. If there is a communal laundry room, check its hours of operation, security and proximity to the unit you’re considering.
- Common Areas – Ask to see any additional common areas that are shared by other tenants of the building. Pay close attention to how well-kept they are, as this can provide insight into both how your fellow neighbors behave as well as how good management is at keeping the property maintained.
- Noise – Pay close attention to the noise levels, both in the hallways as well as in the unit itself as you’re walking through. Listen for things like the neighbors as well as outside traffic. Remember – you will probably be signing a lease that will lock you in for at least a year, so make sure you don’t end up stuck in a place where excessive noise is an issue.
- Cell Reception – These days it’s nearly impossible to live without constant connectivity of a cell phone, but not every apartment building is ideal in terms of service and reception. Double check this by using your mobile phone in each room.
- Amenities – Most of the luxury apartments for rent in the Dallas area feature quite a few perks and amenities for residents. For instance, many have on-site gyms, swimming pools and shared gathering spaces. Ask about what’s included and get a tour of the facilities. Also verify hours of operation, safety features and proximity to your unit.
- Camera and Flashlight – Better yet, bring your smartphone, as it probably features both of these things built in. The camera will allow you to take photos during the walkthrough and document any issues. The flashlight should be used to inspect smaller spaces, such as when you’re looking for signs of vermin.
- Various Times – If possible, visit the property and spend a little time exploring the neighborhood during different times of the day and night. You may find that while everything seems safe and quiet during the day, at night it’s much noisier and not as well-lit as you’d like. The goal is to make sure you feel safe and comfortable in the area regardless of time of day.
- Utilities – If the apartment you’re considering requires that you pay for utilities like electricity, natural gas and water, it can be helpful to ask about estimated costs so you can budget accordingly.
- Actual Unit – Some apartment locators in Dallas try to pull a switcheroo on potential tenants by doing walkthroughs in models rather than the actual units that are for rent. Be sure to verify that the place you’re looking at is, in fact, the very unit you’ll be renting if you so choose.
- Neighbors – If you happen to see someone who lives in the building you’re checking out, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask them how they feel about living there. This will provide you a much more honest and firsthand perspective of things like the building, amenities, landlord and neighborhood.
- Online Reviews – You can also check online to see if there are any reviews that might be helpful in selecting the property that’s right for you. Carefully consider the various pros and cons provided online from existing or previous tenants (but remember to take them with a grain of salt).
- Lease – Last but certainly not least, ask to look over the lease. Reading through can provide a better idea of what to expect should you choose to rent a particular apartment. If there’s anything that you don’t understand, ask for clarification. If there’s something that makes you uncomfortable, discuss it with the landlord, property manager or one of our Dallas apartment finders.
So, there you have it: the ultimate apartment walkthrough checklist. Feel free to print a copy and bring it along to ensure you don’t forget anything. And, of course, if you need assistance with locating the ideal property for your needs and budget, give us a call. Our experienced Dallas apartment finders are here to help!