Getting a new apartment is exciting, but living in a new environment can cause a bit of stress. With so much to do, where do you start? Don’t worry. Our team at Trulia has put together a list of six things that should top your list the first time you walk into your new apartment:
1. Test the smoke detectors
Go through and take inventory of where each smoke detector is in the house. Thoroughly test each one, and install new batteries if necessary. If any of the little ceiling clingers aren’t working, let your landlord know so they can be replaced. Also check that carbon monoxide detectors — another important safety feature of your home — are in working order. Last but not least, set a reminder to test all detectors regularly.
2. Turn on all faucets
When you take the time to turn on each faucet in the house, you’re crossing two things off your to-do list at once. First, you’re ensuring that the water is turned on. And second, you’re confirming that each tap works properly and is free of leaks or other problems, such as low water pressure. If you come across an issue, document it and let the landlord know.
3. Check the water heater and furnace
Take a look around the water heater and furnace. Do you see rust? If so, this can indicate a leak, which could end up causing a lot of problems in the long run. This is something you’ll want to document with pictures and report immediately. In addition to rust, note if there are rocks or debris around these units, as this can also indicate leaking.
4. Inspect cabinets, cupboards, and baseboards
Mice and other rodents leave indicators in these areas, so you’ll need to thoroughly check for the following signs: droppings, gnaw marks, holes in the wood, or nests (typically made of soft fuzzy things such as laundry lint). If these are present, set up traps at your discretion and discuss extermination options with your landlord.
5. Try the locks
Make sure all the locks in your new home work properly and close tightly, window closures included. This is extremely important to your security. Also make sure to check both the interior and exterior lock mechanisms, and test each key you receive upon move-in so that you’re never left without a way into your home.
6. Turn all lights on and off
You’d be surprised at how electrical wiring can deteriorate over time. For this job, bring an extra light bulb with you in case one is missing or burnt out (and be sure to test it first, so you know if it’s the bulb or the fixture itself if something’s out of order). Document any issues for the landlord, and if any lights are burnt out, ask that they be replaced with Energy Star–rated LED or CFL bulbs.
To protect yourself against any future blame or deductions from your security deposit, be sure to document any problems, take a photo with your phone, and report any issues to your landlord immediately.
What other tips do you suggest? Share your move-in checklist in the comments below.