7 Impressive Questions to Ask When Touring an Apartment

by Marisa Upson | Updated: Oct 19, 2023

You've found your perfect rental. It's in the right neighborhood, has all the amenities you're searching for and falls within your budget. Unfortunately, there are at least 20 other potential tenants that feel the same way. How do you stand out from the crowd?

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and the apartment tour provides that opportunity. Remember, there are three important traits landlords look for. They want to know you'll pay your rent on time, take good care of their property and be a good neighbor. To prove these qualifications, consider the following questions to ask when touring an apartment.

#1 Would you like to see my references and proof of income?

References from previous landlords are invaluable in the tenant screening process. Other references that pique a property owner's interest include employers and clients (if you're a freelancer). Most want to see at least three references and will also consider colleagues and friends.

Proof of income includes recent pay stubs, the prior year's tax return and bank statements. If you're relocating to start a new job, consider bringing the job offer from your new employer reflecting your income and start date.

Taking a proactive stance and asking this question before being asked demonstrates confidence, a measure of responsibility and foresight.

know which questions to ask when touring an apartment

#2 Would you like my employer's contact information?

Did you see that? The smile that suddenly appeared across your potential landlord's face? This question illustrates your confidence in your current job and, therefore, your continuing ability to pay rent on time and in full.

If you're an independent contractor or freelancer, consider clients or colleagues who can attest to your work skills and achievements.

#3 Is it OK if I sign a longer lease term?

If you're hoping to make this rental your home for more than a year, asking your potential landlord for an extended lease provides several benefits.

  • Asking this question when touring an apartment demonstrates your interest in the property.
  • Lets them know you're hoping to make this rental your home for an extended time.
  • It suggests you're financially secure for the foreseeable future.

Finding a long-term renter saves a landlord time and money. Every time a tenant moves out, they incur cleaning and marketing costs and spend time screening applicants. From a renter's viewpoint, moving can be stressful, expensive and disruptive.

If it fits into your life plans, staying at a rental for longer than a year is a win-win for you and your landlord and offers a serious advantage over other renters who can only commit to one year. That's why it's one of the top questions to ask when touring an apartment.

#4 How long will it take to find out if my rental application has been approved?

A landlord's dream tenant is someone who's excited about the property and will treat it as their own. While not definitive, showing interest by asking for a time frame provides insight into your intentions.

If you haven't heard back from the property manager or potential landlord within three days of submitting the application, feel free to follow up with a thoughtful email.

ask the right questions when touring an apartment -- before you sign a lease

#5 Would you like to see a copy of my credit report?

While some landlords will still do their own credit check, bringing your credit report when you view a rental shows honesty and organization. It also gives you the opportunity to explain any dings on your credit. Another option for those with less than stellar credit is to include a letter explaining credit problems.

Many people go through financial challenges at some point in their lives. Even Walt Disney filed for bankruptcy before making it big. Most landlords understand setbacks.

They also want to see you're taking steps to move forward and are financially stable. This letter allows you to explain the actions you're taking and why you'll make an excellent tenant despite past financial issues. If you have a very bad credit score or no credit history, paying several months of rent in advance or offering to pay a larger deposit may get you in the door, particularly in a tight rental market.

Every year, you're entitled to one free copy of your credit report from the three main credit reporting agencies. You can request your credit reports from AnnualCredit Report.com or call (877) 322-8228.

#6 How long has this property been a rental?

Ask this question after complementing the property and mentioning how it's been well cared for. This demonstrates your interest and suggests you value a home that's maintained. It also implies you'll treat the property with respect and care.

when touring an apartment, ask about gardening and painting

#7 Would you mind if I did some gardening or painting?

Suppose a landlord has several applicants, and one asks for new appliances or some touch-up painting, while another shows a desire to take the initiative on their own. In that case, you can guess which applicant becomes more desirable.

What you don't want to do is come off as overly demanding or fussy, suggesting several improvements you'd like to see as you tour the property. These types of pointed questions and comments may indicate you'll be a difficult tenant, which is a landlord's worst nightmare.

Ask these seven questions when touring an apartment to impress landlords

Asking these seven questions will help you stand out as a trustworthy, honest, and responsible tenant. They suggest that you'll pay your rent on time and take care of the property, the traits landlords look for.

To further boost your chances, consider treating this apartment tour as you would a job interview. That means dressing for success and demonstrating professionalism, politeness and respect. Arriving on time to the showing and greeting your potential landlord with a smile will also help ensure the best first impression.

Categories: Renters

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