Things to Look For in a House or Apartment


  • Turn on several hot water faucets. There should be plenty of pressure. The water should become clear and hot in a few seconds and remain hot.
  • Are there any pipes outdoors where they are subject to freezing?
  • Does the temperature feel comfortable? Is it well-insulated? Are there drafts from doors, windows, or other openings?
  • What is the thermostat setting? Is it comfortable at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer?
  • Ask to see several recent bills for all utilities; water, gas, oil electric. It is important to see – not to be told but to see – more than one bill. Ask for the bills for the coldest and the warmest months of the year.
  • Always examine a house in the daylight. A rainy day is a great time to look for a leak in the basement. If there is water in the basement and you really like the house, consider getting an estimate as to how much it would cost to fix it. If the cost is minor you might still consider that house. If you bid on that house, bid less than the asking price (which you typically do anyway) and have your agent point out to the owner that you are aware of the water problem in the basement
  • Make sure that the neighborhood is one that suites you and your family, and that you are aware of the rental regulations because rental properties are treated as business and are often required to perform expensive maintenance.
  • If possible, try and find a place that has simple construction. This will lead to easier repairs and simpler maintenance. Also look out for houses built on cement slabs, they tend to flood easier and make it more difficult to repair duct work, heating pipes, electrical lines, etc.
  • Look out (closely) for safety issues; this might be a good reason to hire a professional home inspector, because many things in houses and apartments like radon, lead paint, asbestos and mold can be easily overlooked, but potentially very dangerous for humans.
  • Other aspects that are usually overlooked, but can potentially cause harm to tenants are exterior stairways without handrails (where ice, snow or rain may cause someone to slip and fall), steep steps, carbon dioxide/smoke detectors, obstructed door/hall ways, broken windows/glass, cracks/unevenness in drive/walk ways or sidewalks (trip hazard), open electrical circuits, outlets or wires (electrocution hazard), unfenced swimming pools (drowning hazard), lack of GFI outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) near kitchen/bathroom sinks (electrocution hazard). A GFI outlet prevents an electrical shock in rooms where there might be water, like a bathroom or outdoor area.
  • Your landlord should have all of these, and other safety concerns, taken care of before you move into your new home; however, it will never hurt to make sure for yourself that it is taken care of, especially when it is concerning the safety of you and your family.

Things to Look For in a House or Apartment


  • Turn on several hot water faucets. There should be plenty of pressure. The water should become clear and hot in a few seconds and remain hot.
  • Are there any pipes outdoors where they are subject to freezing?
  • Does the temperature feel comfortable? Is it well-insulated? Are there drafts from doors, windows, or other openings?
  • What is the thermostat setting? Is it comfortable at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer?
  • Ask to see several recent bills for all utilities; water, gas, oil electric. It is important to see – not to be told but to see – more than one bill. Ask for the bills for the coldest and the warmest months of the year.
  • Always examine a house in the daylight. A rainy day is a great time to look for a leak in the basement. If there is water in the basement and you really like the house, consider getting an estimate as to how much it would cost to fix it. If the cost is minor you might still consider that house. If you bid on that house, bid less than the asking price (which you typically do anyway) and have your agent point out to the owner that you are aware of the water problem in the basement
  • Make sure that the neighborhood is one that suites you and your family, and that you are aware of the rental regulations because rental properties are treated as business and are often required to perform expensive maintenance.
  • If possible, try and find a place that has simple construction. This will lead to easier repairs and simpler maintenance. Also look out for houses built on cement slabs, they tend to flood easier and make it more difficult to repair duct work, heating pipes, electrical lines, etc.
  • Look out (closely) for safety issues; this might be a good reason to hire a professional home inspector, because many things in houses and apartments like radon, lead paint, asbestos and mold can be easily overlooked, but potentially very dangerous for humans.
  • Other aspects that are usually overlooked, but can potentially cause harm to tenants are exterior stairways without handrails (where ice, snow or rain may cause someone to slip and fall), steep steps, carbon dioxide/smoke detectors, obstructed door/hall ways, broken windows/glass, cracks/unevenness in drive/walk ways or sidewalks (trip hazard), open electrical circuits, outlets or wires (electrocution hazard), unfenced swimming pools (drowning hazard), lack of GFI outlets (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) near kitchen/bathroom sinks (electrocution hazard). A GFI outlet prevents an electrical shock in rooms where there might be water, like a bathroom or outdoor area.
  • Your landlord should have all of these, and other safety concerns, taken care of before you move into your new home; however, it will never hurt to make sure for yourself that it is taken care of, especially when it is concerning the safety of you and your family.