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A checklist for your first apartment search!

Updated: May 30

Now that you've started your search for apartments, here are some main checkpoints you'll cross before you finally select and move into your new apartment.

1. Location: Research the neighborhood and amenities such as available public transportation, grocery stores, your school and workplace. How close you want to live to your school or work may vary depending on the options available to you. Searching for apartments will take up the most time, so it's best to begin your search at least 6-8 weeks before you have to move out.

2. Rent and included/excluded Utilities: Make sure you can afford the rent and any additional utility costs. Apartments in Alberta will usually have water and heat utilities included in the rent, but not electricity.

3. Size required: Decide on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need and consider your studying and living needs of the apartment. After figuring out your complete rent budget and the size of living space you need, this will lead you to consider your need or want for roommates.

4. Amenities: Determine what amenities are important to you, such as a gym, pool, laundry facilities, and availability of underground parking.

5. Safety and security: Research the safety and security of the building and neighborhood. You can do this through neighborhood crime maps.

6. Landlord and maintenance: Research the reputation of the landlord, building and property management and the responsiveness of maintenance. Maintenance questions can be directly asked to the landlord.

7. Viewing the apartment: it is recommended to view the apartment with a friend or parent who can help you notice details you may miss or not think to ask about. This is also an ideal time to explore the neighborhood to view the neighborhood's amenities, and suitability for you.

8. Pet policy: If you have a pet, first check if the apartment allows them, or allows them with additional fees or restrictions. This will also be stated in your lease.

9. Lease: The lease acts as a rental contract between you and the landlord. Before signing it, review the entire lease carefully, noting your responsibilities, your landlord's responsibilities, security deposit, rent amount and move-in date; ask about any restrictions or penalties and ensure that any discounts agreed upon are stated in the lease.

10. Inspection: you can ask to inspect the apartment again before signing the lease. Document any damages, ask your landlord if areas that need to be corrected will be ready before move-in and make sure these are added into the lease before signing.

11. Move-in date: Confirm the move-in date and the availability of the apartment you viewed before signing the lease.

12. After signing the lease: and before moving in, do another walkthrough with your landlord to ensure everything has been fixed, and that any existing damages are recorded so they're not blamed on you.

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