5 Money Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease

Are you currently in the depths of an apartment search? The moving process can be overwhelming and budgeting out the costs of both upfront, month-to-month, and overall moving fees can be even more frightening but by asking the right questions before signing a lease can make all the difference. Not sure what questions to ask? Our team of property managers is here to help!

How Much is the Security Deposit?

The security deposit for your rental will be one of the most substantial up-front costs when moving into a new apartment. Typically equal to one month’s rent, a security deposit will ensure you follow through with your rental agreement (i.e. breaking the lease early, not paying your monthly rent, etc.) and will also cover any costs associated with damage. When the time comes to move out of the space, make sure to speak with your landlord about getting your security deposit back.

Are Utilities Included?

Utility costs are a substantial monthly fee and can make a big difference in which property you decide to rent. Most utilities will include gas/electric, water, heat, garbage removal, and electricity. If you’re opting to live in a complex, the utilities are typically worked into the rent but if you’re living in a home, the renter will be responsible for paying the monthly utility costs.

If the units you are looking at do not have the utilities included, make sure to ask the landlord for the average cost of utilities from the current tenants to get a better idea of additional monthly costs. You can also find out this information by calling the utility companies by looking up the address and what previous tenants averaged.

What is the Laundry Situation?

If there is laundry in-unit, you won’t have to worry about any additional costs outside of your monthly utility bills but if it’s not, it’s important to find out how much laundry fees are. Depending on whether there is laundry in the building or if you will need to go to a laundromat, the cost of doing a load of laundry can differ. Right now, the average per load is around $5 (for both washing and drying) but can be up to an additional $10 per load.

Is Parking Included?

Depending on where you’re looking to live, parking might be limited or there might not be any parking at all. If you currently own a car or are planning on purchasing one in the future and having it at your new rental, don’t forget to ask about parking and any fees associated with parking. If parking is included in your monthly rent, that’s awesome! If it’s not, knowing how much it is, how often it needs to be paid, and whether or not you need a special permit from the city is important for accurate budgeting.

What is the Late Rent Policy?

Life gets busy and hectic and sometimes, you forget to pay your rent. Even if you’ve never paid your rent late once in your life, it’s still important to ask about any late rent policies your potential landlord could have in place. Some landlords offer a grace period of a few days to pay your rent before it is deemed as “late.” Make sure you ask what the specific policy is to help avoid any late fees. Don’t want to risk paying your rent late? Ask if it’s possible to pay your rent online and set up auto payments each month!