If you’re on the hunt for an apartment to rent in Santa Monica, you probably have a few apartment tours lined up. When the time comes to check out your potential new home, make sure you come prepared with a list of questions.
You’re not just there to “ooh” and “ahh” over the luxury finishes or high-end amenities (although that is the fun part.) You’re there to get an accurate idea of whether or not you can see yourself living there. Going in with these questions will help you make an informed and confident decision:
Can I have a copy of the lease to look over?
The apartment may have all the bells and whistles you’ve ever wanted, but it’s important you look at the fine print. You don’t want to be blinded by the amenities or spacious floor plans and look over important details like required renters insurance, penalties for breaking the lease, or strict rules about guests.
What expenses will I be expected to cover each month?
The first thing that should be clear before you finish the tour is how much rent is, when it’s due, and how you can pay it. This should also lead to a conversation about how much the rent will go up and when you can expect that. Ask about other expenses over and above the rent that you will be required to pay. Are there extra costs for mail services, having a pet, or parking fees? Other fees you should ask about include:
And security deposits.
What do you need from me before moving in?
Moving days can be equal parts stressful and exciting, so knowing what to expect beforehand can minimize delays. Ask about how a moving day usually looks and what you need to do to ensure it goes smoothly. This includes asking about where the moving trucks can park, how to reserve the equipment elevator
What do I need to know about utilities?
Along with rent, you will probably be responsible for paying for heating, gas, and electricity. Water is often included in rent but not always. It’s important to know how much you can expect to pay for utilities so you know whether or not the apartment is within your budget. The person giving you a tour should be able to give you a rough estimate of these expenses.
What are your rules about pets, smoking, and guests?
As you take the tour, ask about the apartment’s policy regarding smoking, guests, and pets.
Are pets allowed? Are there breed restrictions? Is there a pet fee?
Are there any pet-centered amenities on-site?
What is the smoking policy? Where is it allowed and where is it not?
Are there rules about having guests over? Where can guests park when they visit?
If you like having people over and there is a strict guest policy, you may want to continue your apartment search. The same goes for smoking and pets. If you know the rules up front, there won’t be any issues or misunderstandings after you move in.
What is the maintenance request process?
Your apartment building should have a clear and efficient maintenance request policy. What happens when you need something repaired in your apartment?
Who do you call?
How do you submit a request?
How soon can you expect someone to come to take care of the issue?
Some Santa Monica apartments have an online portal where tenants can pay their rent, stay current on building news, and submit maintenance requests. Also, ask about how emergency repairs are handled. Figuring out all of these answers during your apartment tour is much better than trying to figure it out in the middle of an emergency.
Can I have a roommate or sublet my apartment?
Many apartments in Santa Monica encourage co-living and even have apartments made specifically for this purpose. Co-living apartments give tenants their personal space but offer shared common areas like laundry rooms and lounge spaces. For college students and those new to the area, co-living is a cost-effective way to live the apartment lifestyle in Santa Monica. But not all apartments allow this type of living situation, so it’s always best to ask upfront.
What can you tell me about security on the property?
When choosing an apartment to rent, you want to feel safe. You should be able to walk through parking lots, hallways, and common areas without concern for your safety. Ask about on-site security, where there are cameras, and how lit the property is at night. Ask about who you should call if you see something suspicious and what precautions they take when allowing guests/strangers onto the property.
What should I expect in terms of parking?
If you have your own car, understanding the apartment’s parking policies should be one of your first questions.
Will you have your own spot?
Are there dedicated guest parking spots?
Are there extra fees for parking spots?
Santa Monica is a walkable city and many people get by on walking, biking, and public transportation, but if you have a car you need to know what to expect in terms of parking.
Asking the right questions during your apartment tour will help you make an informed and confident decision when choosing a Santa Monica apartment for rent. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’re making a big decision. Schedule a tour of NMS 1539 Fourth today, our leasing agents are happy to answer ALL of your questions!