So when do all you soon-to-be 1LS plan to start your search for an apartment? What types of things do landlords expect for a prospective tenant to bring on these "show" days?
I'm about to get my first apt ever after living at home with my parents through my UG years, and I always feel kinda shaky when I go to view these apartments, as if there's something I'm supposed to have with me, but don't.
Do landlords expect prospective tenants to bring anything in particular, such as credit reports, resumes, or anything like that? Are there any special questions that you guys think are key to ask? So far, I've just asked about the neighbors (i.e. how quiet and/or loud they are), policies (i.e. if pets are allowed in the building), and things of that nature. What kinds of questions do you guys think are pivotal to ask, and what types of documentation, if any, should be brought?
Definitely bring your check book! LOL
Seriously though, I think a lot of it is just common sense and you're on the right track. If you have a VERY recent credit report, you should bring it. They may take that instead of running their own which will prevent an inquiry and the resulting loss of points. If you don't have one, they will do one for you but as I said, each time your credit it makes your score lower. Don't let them do it unless you're sure you want the place. Most places make you fill out an application as well that's similar to a job app. You'll want to make sure you have all that info handy - addresses over the last 5 years, references, etc.
You definitely want to find out about ALL the rules. There are some pretty silly rules where I live now, and I get fined if I'm in violation. Depending on where you'll be living, you will want to find out about appliances. I think washer, dryer, refrigerator are usually standard on the east coast whereas you are expected to provide your own on the west. You should find out what utilities are included, if any. Find out about the deposit/1st & last months rent. There is a difference. Be sure to know which one you are paying. Definitely find out about parking. Have the landperson show you the space. Make sure you feel its safe and secure for your vehicle, assuming you have one. You should also find out what their policy on late rent is and what the fees are. On second thought though, asking those types of questions may give the impression that you plan to be late. LOL. Its still good information to know...
If I end up going to school someplace where the cost of living is dirt cheap, I'll be buying a place which means I'll probably be on someone's couch for the first month of school (or maybe even a hotel - I shudder at the thought). Otherwise, I'll probably be moving in early August or so. At this point, I'm not really picky about where I live. What's important to me is that I'm safe and that I'm saving $$$