When you are moving into your first apartment you are probably really excited about it. You're thinking "This is my first apartment, I just want to get moved in now!" However, you need to take things slow on signing the lease and moving in, to make sure and protect yourself in the long run. Here's a checklist to make sure you pay attention to all the right stuff on your walk-through before you move in.
You should do the walk-through with your apartment manager after the apartment has been cleaned but before you move your stuff in. Bring a checklist with you, like the one below. There is so much to consider that it's easy to forget to look at everything if you don't have it written down, especially when all you can think about is, "This will be my first apartment!"
Apartment Walk-Through Checklist
- Use your cell phone to take pictures and video. Be sure to backup your files and save them in a place you'll remember, making them easy access for when you move out.
- Look for any signs of rodents or pests. Droppings, dead bugs, etc.
- Check all the electrical outlets. Bringing a cell phone charger makes this quick and easy.
- Turn every light switch on and off
- Check the location of phone and cable connections.
- Check for smoke detectors and make sure they all appear to be working. They have a test button on them for this purpose.
- Open and close all the windows and doors. Do they operate smoothly? Are doorknobs, locks and latches all working?
- Don't forget to check that there are screens for all the windows and that they are in good shape.
- Check the plumbing. Test all the faucets as well as the shower/tub. Check that hot and cold work. Check that the stoppers work, look under the sinks for leaks and flush the toilets.
- Check the ceiling and walls in the bathrooms as well as around the windows for any signs of mold.
- Test any appliances that come with the apartment.
- Take a look at the refrigerator/freezer and make sure it's cold, dry, and there are no odd smells.
- Document any issues with flooring: scratches in wood floors, chips in tile, bubbles in linoleum, stains or tears in carpet.
- Test all the kitchen cabinets and drawers
- Check heating and A/C systems. Make sure you can get hot air and cold air.
- Take a look at blinds and window coverings, these are often abused and are prone to needing repair.
- Look at all the walls, trim and baseboards. Are there any dents or cracks in the drywall. Are the trim and baseboard in good shape?
- Note how many copies of keys you were given for the apartment.
Allstate insurance posted a great video to their blog that gives you the major things to look for during your first apartment walk-through.
After completion of the walk-through of your first apartment make sure that all maintenance issues are well documented and that any necessary repairs are agreed to and scheduled with the property manager. Both parties should sign the documentation to make it official. Be sure to save a copy of the documentation and keep it with your lease agreement along with pictures of any existing damage.
When it comes time to move out of your apartment, you'll be glad to have all of this well documented. It's hard to remember all the details years after you moved in, and in case there is any disagreement with the property manager you'll have all the proof you'll need.
For more tips on how to make moving into your first apartment easier, check out our 13 Things To-Do Immediately After Move-In!