How To Prepare For An Apartment Viewing For Rental? (Checklist)

  • By: Peter Parker
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Apartment viewing is an exciting part of the rental process. It helps you to analyze how the apartment actually looks and how well it suits your requirements.

Apartment viewing is a critical step that should never be overlooked.

Before signing the lease, you should always request the landlord or the property agent for a physical tour of the apartment. This will aid you to make sure that the unit not only looks nice but is also in a habitable condition. 

Most new renters are clueless about how to prepare for an apartment viewing.

Here are some frequently asked questions such as how to schedule an apartment viewing, what to check for in an apartment viewing, and how to dress for an apartment viewing. 

How to ask for an apartment viewing? 

Most renters are nervous about speaking to the landlord or the property agent and do not know how to request an apartment viewing. However, speaking to the landlord is not as difficult as it seems. 

Here are some pointers to remember when speaking to the landlord or property manager for the first time. 

  • Choose an appropriate time – Call between 9 am to 5 pm on business days. If the apartment listing mentions a specific time, call during that time. 
  • Call the number – Call the contact number mentioned in the listing. Ensure that there are no disturbances from your side. 
  • Introduce yourself – Let the other person know who you are and why you are calling. Landlords or property managers have more than one apartment listing at a time. So you have to specify the exact details of the apartment that you are interested in. For example, I am calling to enquire about the two-bedroom two bathroom apartment in Maple street. 
  • Clarify any queries – You have to go through the apartment listing to know what is included in the package. If you have any unanswered queries ask them politely and straightforwardly. 
  • Enquire about the rent – The next step is to enquire about the rent and other additional fees. 
  • Ask for a viewing – If the apartment is within your budget and suits your preferences, ask the landlord when the apartment is available for viewing.

Fix a suitable time for apartment viewing and ask the landlord/manager for the specific location of the apartment. Always be on time for the viewing and dress appropriately to make a positive first impression. 

What to bring to an apartment viewing

It is crucial to let the landlord know that you are the perfect tenant and ready to move forward after the apartment viewing. Apart from the apartment inspection checklist, you must arrive at the viewing with the following documents, files, and personal information. 

  • Pay stubs – The landlord needs to know that you can afford to pay the monthly rent, utility fees and other expenses. You have to carry several months’ pay stubs to prove that you have a regular income. 
  • Bank statements – Bank statements help landlords to assess your financial health. Carry the latest bank statements ( for the past 2 months) while going for an apartment viewing. 
  • Credit report – Property managers/landlords run a credit check on the prospective tenants during the background check. Providing a credit report yourself will help to prove your credibility and reassure the landlord that you have a good history of making your payments on time. 
  • Photo ID – The landlord needs to know your identity before showing you the apartment. A driver’s license or passport is valid ID proof to carry for an apartment viewing. You will also need a copy of your social security number to share with the landlord. 
  • Rental history report – A rental history report consists of information about your previous residences, contact numbers of the landlords, and information about prior evictions, missed rents, and damages. The report enables the landlord to know your history as a tenant. Providing this report yourself will speed up the process of background checks and close the deal sooner. 

These are the 5 essential documents you need to carry for an apartment viewing.

You can also carry these documents along:

  • Your resume to show your employment history.
  • Cover letter to introduce yourself to the landlord and show your interest in the property.
  • Letter of recommendation from your previous landlord showcasing that you are a responsible tenant. 
  • Completed application.
  • Your business card to provide your contact information.
  • List of questions to ask the property manager or the landlord.
  • Checkbook or debit/credit cards to pay the application and processing fees.

Things to look for in an apartment:

Apartment viewing is an essential part of the rental application process as it helps you to analyze whether the unit is fit for your lifestyle.

However, you have to make sure that you inspect the original unit, you will be renting instead of the model unit. 

You must pay close attention to every aspect while touring an apartment to notice any defects or damages.

If you miss this step and sign the lease, you might have to stay in a damaged unit until the lease is over. 

Aside from the obvious things such as the marks on the walls, cracks in flooring, and damage in furniture, here are the things to look for in an apartment viewing. 

  1. Signs of pest infestation
  2. The quality and condition of all electrical outlets.
  3. The condition of safety equipment such as smoke detectors, fire alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, etc.
  4. Switch on and off all the lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, and other electrical equipment to know their working condition.
  5. Test the thermostat to ensure that the apartment has proper heating and cooling.
  6. Check the kitchen cabinets to ensure they are in good working condition.
  7. Check the faucets and taps to ensure there are no leaks.
  8. Check all the plumbing lines, sinks, toilets, etc. to make sure there are no blockages and the water drains properly.
  9. Check all the doors and windows – their condition, locks, and insulation. 
  10. If the apartment has furniture, you must check the quality and condition of every piece. 
  11. If the landlord is providing an oven, refrigerator, washing machine, etc. switch them on and notice their condition. 
  12. Inspect the walls closely to identify cracks, structural damages, or pre-existing holes. 
  13. Open and close the blinds, shades, and curtains to ensure they are working well. Also, inspect them for any holes or damages. 
  14. Check the flooring closely. Do not forget to check under the carpet as most landlords tend to cover up defective flooring with a neat carpet. 
  15. Apart from the interiors, you should also notice the condition of the common spaces such as lobbies, staircases, parking lots, etc. 

Make a list of any potential issues and discuss them with the property manager or the landlord.

You should not shy away from sharing your concerns and requesting the landlord to fix the issues before signing the lease.

This will help you save time and avoid maintenance issues after you move into the apartment. 

Apartment viewing questions:

Most of the basic information about the apartment is mentioned in the advertisement.

Apart from this information, if you wish to know in detail about the apartment, you must come prepared with a list of questions for the landlord or the property agent. 

Here is a list of some questions to ask during the apartment viewing.

  1. What is the length of the lease?
  2. Information about any additional fees and deposits other than the rent, security deposit, and application fees.
  3. The pet policy of the apartment ( if you have or plan to own pets)
  4. The guest policy
  5. The subletting policy
  6. The process of filing maintenance requests
  7. What utilities are provided in the apartment? 
  8. What is the process of handling emergency maintenance? 
  9. Is there additional storage available?
  10. Does the apartment have assigned parking? 
  11. Can I decorate the apartment? What is permitted and what is not? 

Apart from these questions, you can also ask questions about the community, neighborhood, or conveniences nearby.

Speak to the tour guide in a pleasant tone and ask all your questions to get clarity on the apartment and the community.

Apartment viewing etiquette

It is important to portray a professional image to make a good first impression on the landlord.

You must be courteous and respectful to your tour guide, landlord, and the people living in the apartment. 

Here are some guidelines to perfect your apartment viewing etiquette. 

  • Always make an appointment for your visit.
  • Dress appropriately and comfortably.
  • Bring your partner/roommates or family to avoid multiple visits.
  • Reach on time.
  • Bring copies of all the necessary documents.
  • Respect the people living on the property and follow the house rules.
  • Avoid touching objects that you shouldn’t touch.
  • Do not take photos without permission.
  • Be quick and respect the time of your tour guide.
  • Come prepared with your questions and the apartment inspection checklist.
  • Negotiate politely.
  • Send a follow-up message to the landlord/agent expressing your gratitude for the apartment viewing and letting them know whether you are interested in the property. 

At a glance 

Apartment viewing is a critical procedure in the rental application process. It helps you to assess whether an apartment is perfect for you and your family.

Apartment viewing also helps you to identify any damages and maintenance issues before signing the lease and let them be rectified by the landlord to avoid disputes at a later date. 

To prepare for an apartment viewing, you have to 

  • Shortlist the apartments.
  • Request the landlord or the property agent for a viewing.
  • Schedule an appointment.
  • Make a list of questions.
  • Prepare a checklist of what to check in the apartment.
  • Keep copies of your documents ready.
  • Be ready to complete the application.

After the apartment viewing, you can complete the application process if you like the apartment.

The landlord/agent will evaluate the application, do a background and credit check, and schedule an interview to finalize the deal.

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