10 Questions to Ask Before You Sign An Apartment Lease

Your home or apartment can really make a difference in your finances. If you aren’t living in the right place or if you don’t consider your finances when finding somewhere to live, you can end up destroying your budget.

Here is a list of important financial questions to ask before signing any lease.

What is the security deposit?- Security deposits can vary a lot. Ask questions if the deposit is more than 2 months rent. In many cases you can get a lower security deposit if you have a great credit score. Remember investing your money is always better than having someone hold on to it interest free for you.

What is the application fee?- When asking about application fees also ask how much they charge for a  credit check. If you must have a co-signer there may be additional fees.

Is the application fee refundable? Ask if the application fee is refundable if you decide not to move in. In many apartments it will apply to your first months rent. Always ask how the fee will be used and if it is refundable should you choose another place.

Which utilities are included? Most apartments include water and trash in the apartment fee. If not, ask what the typical monthly charges are. If you are comparing apartments based on price, be sure to remember to factor utility charge in as well.

What fees are required before move in/ move out? This question is pretty forward. Find out what fees are required before you move in and out. Is there a cleaning fee or a carpet cleaning charge? If you clean on your own can you save money?

What happens if I move before my contract ends? Always find out what the charge will be should you have to cancel your lease. In some apartments it is a month rent, plus at least a months notice. Be sure what the terms are since you can be held liable for the entire lease in some instances.

Are there extra fees for pets or animals? If you have pets, be sure to find out if they are allowed and what the pet rent is. In some cases there is an additional security deposit or cleaning charge plus a monthly pet rent.

What is your late fee? Do you have a grace period? It is always good to know what the payment terms are, when your rent is due and if you can be late should an emergency arise.

Do you have any special offers for new move ins? Always find out about new move in offers. Sometimes you can get a few months free rent, or a reduced security deposit. Sometimes signing a longer lease will get you better move in deals.

How long are your typical leases? Remember when your lease is up, rates can sometimes skyrocket. If you plan on staying somewhere a long time and the rate is good, you might want to consider a longer lease.

Print off this list and take it along when you go apartment hunting. It is always better to ask a lot and be sure than sign a lease and be sorry later.

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