Looking for apartments to rent can be an intimidating process. How do you know if a particular apartment is a smart choice, other than how it looks? Here are 5 things you need to check before you put down your deposit and sign the rental agreement.

1. Water Pressure

Ask the landlord if you can turn on the water in the kitchen, bathroom, and shower. Check the water pressure to make sure that it's not weak. The last thing you want is to step into the shower on the first night at your new apartment and feel like you're under a sprinkler.

2. Refrigerator

Plug in the refrigerator and make sure it works. Check the cord and the back of the fridge for problems, and make sure the refrigerator starts getting cold. If it's not working properly, make sure that it's in the lease that the landlord will provide a new refrigerator before you move in.

3. Windows

Many people glance over the windows when scoping out apartments for rent, but these are something you should be checking in every place you look. Do the windows open? Do they lock properly? Do they all have screens? You don't want to rent the place and find out later that they're all painted shut or that none of them have screens and you won't be able to open your windows to get fresh air.

4. Toilets

Ask to use the toilet before you rent an apartment. Check the tank and the bowl, and don't forget to flush. You want to make sure there are no physical or cosmetic problems and that the toilets flush without a problem.

5. Locks

Check the locks on the doors to the home, including back doors, side doors, screen doors, and sliding glass doors. All the locks need to work flawlessly to secure the home whether you're inside or outside its walls. If there are some locks that don't work or doors or windows that can be jimmied open, discuss having them replaced before you move in.

Finding a home that you love can seem like the most important thing when looking for apartments to rent, but it's much more critical to ensure that everything is in working order before you sign on the dotted line. Check everything as thoroughly as possible when you tour any apartments and discuss any issues with your potential landlord before signing the lease and moving in. 

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