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Apartment or Rental Home Walk Through
What To Look For Before You Sign A Lease

When walking through the home or apartment you are thinking of renting or leasing, whether it’s brand new or used, here are a few things to check before signing a lease or rental agreement. Drywall, paint, baseboard, light fixtures, carpet, windows, roof tiles, doors, tile, granite, tubs, and appliances. A typical property management company will have a checklist with them during your move-in walk through, to note any preexisting conditions of the unit or home. When you decide to move from this rental, they will do a move-out walk through, comparing the condition of the property at move-out to what it was at move-in. It is in your best interest to have a move-in checklist of your own, to make sure the property manager notes all preexisting conditions, so you won’t have to pay for conditions you didn’t cause when it is time to move.

Drywall -
Make sure you check this well. Look for marks made by door knobs and baseboard installation. Look also for holes.

Paint -
When checking the paint look for uneven coloring and chips. Make sure the baseboard does not have any wall paint on it as well as wood handrails, kitchen counter tops, tubs, cabinets…etc. Look for any stains in the paint, especially on ceilings – this can be an indication of water damage.

Baseboard -
Baseboard is located at the bottom on the walls and surface of the floors. Check for damage such as scrapes or cuts in the baseboard (these are often caused during carpet installation). Also check for any places where baseboard is missing.

Light Fixture Locations -
This is more common than one may realize and, unfortunately, is not caught on many walk-thrus. Wherever there is a light fixture, check to make sure cabinets and doors do not hit it when opening. Check to make sure all light fixtures are in working order.

Carpet -
When checking the carpet look for stains, burns or holes. Check for stains caused by excessive amounts of traffic.

Roof Tiles or Shingles -
Check for broken, missing or discolored tiles. This too is a commonly overlooked area.

Windows -
For your benefit, make sure they are sealed well. Check for cracks and moisture between panels and by sliders, all windows should be tempered. Look for any stains on the window sills. This may be an indication that the windows were not sealed correctly, and, in cold weather, the windows may “sweat” on the inside.

Doors -
All doors should be painted on all sides and there should be no scrapes or holes in them. Open and close doors to check for correct adjustment and alignment. Make sure all door knobs and locks are working correctly.

Tile -
Check for uneven, loose, chipped or cracked tiles especially in corners where it can easily be disguised. Make sure grout is not cracked or missing.

Granite -
When checking granite, new or used, check for cracks or chips; look at the granite in good lighting for faded shiney spots.

Tubs -
Look for cracks and make sure it is sealed correctly. If a jet tub, make sure it works. Look for mold along the top edge of the tub or shower. This may be an indication of poor cleaning habits or poor ventilation.

Appliances -
Examine the appliances and make sure they work, turn them on. The same thing goes for the gas, electricity, plumbing, garbage disposal and water. With the water, run 2-3 different faucets at a time and see if the pipes make any noise. These should all be tested.

We suggest you bring a walk-thru punch list with you when you walk through the home or apartment. This way you won’t forget any of these important items and this will let your property manager know that you are not only educated, but serious about the quality of your living environment. When it comes time for your move-out walk through, you won’t be paying for conditions you didn’t cause.

Article Authored By: Adam O’Connor, Big Bear Lake Real Estate
Article Edited By: Michelle O’Connor, Lake Arrowhead CA Real Estate