Showing Advice and 6 Tips for Viewing Potential Rentals
By Dave Fleming, published February 4, 2021. Updated March 2, 2022.
1. Check Water Pressure and Temperature If you're picky about your showers like me, you'll want to make sure the water pressure is decent and the hot water is to your satisfaction.
2. Check Cell Service I rely on my cell phone for very important work calls at home, so it would be miserable if I leased a place only to find out my cell doesn't work well there.
3. Explore the Neighborhood You can get a great idea of how you'll like a home by taking some time to explore the area. Are things that are important to you nearby such as parks or a pool? Does it seem like the kind of area you'd like to live in with the businesses you'd like to patronize? How about a test drive between the rental and your work?
4. Have a List of Questions and Ask Them! It's always important to enter showings prepared. Bringing a list of questions is an excellent way to make sure you find out everything you need to know. Before you even go to a showing though, you can ask some qualifying questions that might save you and the landlord time such as "Are pets allowed" or "Is there an occupancy limit?". Some other questions you might ask during a showing:
What are the utilities and who's responsible for each? For example, is water heating gas or electric?
Are there any additional fees such as parking or HOA fees?
Who takes care of the exterior and common areas of the property?
Who will you be dealing with on a day-to-day basis for things like maintenance requests and rental payments? Some owners will deal directly with you while others may have agents operating on their behalf.
Ask about any areas you were not able to see. For example, do I have access to the attic or crawl space or shed or utility room?
What's the lockout procedure?
How long is the lease term? Negotiable? Renewal option?
Are there any specific rules or regulations I should know about?
5. Don't be Afraid to Negotiate Does the rental need a coat of paint or some deferred maintenance? See if the landlord is willing to put a fresh coat of paint on for you or offer a discount on rent.
6. Don't Make Any Payments If you feel the need to pay any money at a showing, make sure you get a receipt and see credentials before doing so.
I hope this provided some useful information for attending rental property showings. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions for my Renting 101 pages. Thanks for reading!