When it comes to finding the ideal rental property, knowledge is your most valuable ally. Signing a lease is a significant commitment, and ensuring a smooth and rewarding renting experience begins with asking the right questions. As you embark on this crucial phase of your journey, we’ve compiled a definitive list of 10 questions to ask every leasing agent before signing a lease. By arming yourself with these inquiries, you’ll gain valuable insights into your prospective new home, making an informed decision that sets the stage for a delightful and hassle-free tenancy. Let’s dive into the top ten questions you must ask before putting pen to paper!
1. What is the lease term, and are there any renewal options?
Knowing the length of the lease and whether there are options to extend it can help you plan for the future and avoid any surprises. Ask them if they offer month-to-month leasing options after your yearly lease ends – you never know what your situation will be a year from now!
2. What are the move-in costs and fees?
Understand the total amount required to move in, including the security deposit, first month’s rent, application fees, and any other charges. Nowadays, many landlords and management companies will do away with a security deposit and charge a larger move-in fee.
3. Are there any pet restrictions or additional pet fees?
If you have pets or plan to get one, it’s essential to know the property’s pet policy and any associated costs. These are typically a combination of an additional move-in fee and an additional monthly fee.
4. What utilities are included in the rent?
Clarify which utilities you are responsible for, such as water, electricity, gas, internet, or cable. You may find that the age of the building affects what is included. For example, older units that use furnace heating commonly include heating in the rent or some larger buildings may only offer one internet service provider.
5. How do I pay rent?
Inquire about the preferred method of paying rent before your first month is due. Even though technology and electronic payments have made this process exceedingly simple such as Zelle bank transfers and phone apps, some owners may prefer or require the rent be paid via check.
6. Is renter’s insurance required?
Find out if the leasing agreement requires you to obtain renter’s insurance for added protection. Even if it is not required, it is still highly recommended that you invest in renter’s insurance. Here is an excellent guide from State Farm that explains the benefits and details of a renters insurance policy.
7. What are the rules and regulations regarding maintenance and repairs?
Understand how maintenance requests are handled, response times, and whether there are any repair responsibilities for tenants. It’s also important to ask about how they handle emergencies and the best method of communication during different emergencies. Is there a separate number or specific extension you need to know? Will you be charged a lockout fee in case of emergencies?
8. Are there any restrictions on decorating or making changes to the property?
If you plan to personalize the space, ask about the leasing agent’s policy on painting, hanging pictures, or making alterations. If they do allow any additions or alterations to the apartment it is typically required you return the space back to its original state.
9. Are there any noise or quiet hours policies?
Knowing the property’s noise regulations can help ensure you’re comfortable with the living environment. The most common quiet hours you will find typically last from 10AM to 8AM.
10. What is the process for terminating the lease early?
In case you need to break the lease unexpectedly, ask about the penalties or procedures for early termination.
Additionally, one of the best questions can ask is can you provide references from current or past tenants? Talking to previous or current tenants can give you insights into the leasing agent’s responsiveness and how they handle tenant concerns, as well as direct access to what comprises a given property’s living experience.
By asking these 10 leasing agent questions, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the leasing terms and the property, helping you make an informed decision before signing the lease. Remember to carefully review the lease agreement itself and seek legal advice if you have any concerns or doubts. A well-informed decision will ensure a positive and stress-free rental experience.
Here at Pearson, we have an abundance of qualified agents to assist with any leasing requests or demands. Visit our agent page to learn more!