Shopping for an Apartment? Beware These 6 Red Flags

It can be pretty exciting to look around for an apartment, especially if it’s your first. At the same time, it can be downright overwhelming and intimidating. After all, you never know who you’ll be renting from or who your close-quarter neighbors will be.

So before you hand over first and last month’s rent, make sure none of these 6 red flags rear their ugly heads during your hunt.

1. Badly Maintained Property

Look out for any signs of poor maintenance, including rattling doors, cracked windows, burned-out light bulbs, ill-functioning appliances, and so forth. Basically, the place shouldn’t be falling apart when you go have a look at the unit.

Landlords should do their best to make sure a property is presented in the best light possible when showing prospective tenants. If they have no qualms about showing the place in utter disarray, the odds of any maintenance requests that you might have after you move in might not be taken seriously. If the place is already in shambles, good luck getting the landlord to heed to your repair requests.


2. Weak Water Pressure

You might not think too much about the water pressure in a property, but this is a biggie. When you’re scoping out an apartment, make sure to take the time to turn all the faucets on and off. And don’t forget about flushing the toilets too. Pay attention to see if the water is coming out strongly, or if it’s barely trickling out.

In a building, the water pressure is controlled by an internal water management system. It’s not like you can quickly and easily install a new shower-head if you wanted to, for instance. This is a major plumbing issue that would have to be dealt with by property management at their discretion.


3. Strange Odors

This might sounds silly, but make sure you sniff around for any odd smells in the unit. You’re looking for specific odors here, and not just any smells. For instance, while cigarette smoke might be unpleasant, this issue can be easily dealt with by deep cleaning the carpets or re-painting the walls.

Other smells, on the other hand, are not as easy to handle. If you smell any musty doors, you could be dealing with mold or mildew that’s lurking behind the walls, which is dangerous to be inhaling day in and day out. These are things that you definitely don’t want to be stuck with.

4. Insecure Windows and Doors

You want to make sure that you’re safe in your apartment. If your doors don’t lock properly, or the windows don’t shut all way, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to break-ins.

In addition to checking all the locks, make sure that any sliding doors stay on their tracks when they’re opened and closed. In addition, make sure that all windows have screens, and that they open and shut all the way. If the apartment is on the ground level, make sure the windows have bars too.


5. Noise Coming From Other Units

It’s one thing to be able to hear blaring music coming from another apartment. But if you can clearly hear a typical conversation from next door, you’re dealing with paper-thin walls.

Imagine all the other noise you would hear day in and day out, like loud footsteps, energetic kids, active pets, and so forth. Don’t expect any peace and quiet if every little noise can be heard in your unit. And if you can hear them, they can hear you too.

6. The Overly Zealous Landlord

At first, it might seem sort of nice that your potential landlord isn’t demanding a letter of employment or a credit report, or asking for references from previous landlords. It might also seem awesome that the landlord is easily convinced to shave a few bucks off the rental price.

But beware of hyper-zealous landlords like these, who are obviously doing their best to offload the apartment as soon as possible. What kind of neighbors will you have if the landlord pretty much lets anyone in without checking their background? Not only that, but is there something wrong with the place that the landlord is trying to hide?

Trust your gut. If the landlord seems overly eager and even a little pushy, you might want to look elsewhere.


Apartment hunting isn’t always easy. And when you do find one that you think you like, don’t sign on the dotted line just yet. You want to take the time necessary to make sure the place is right for you. After all, you’re going to be bound to the lease term, so you want to do your best to make sure you’ll be happy living there until you’re off the hook.

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