When you’ve finally finished sorting through the thousands of listings for Madison apartments and have your finalists at hand, it’s time to start setting up tours and choosing your new home. Although listings can tell you a lot about a place — especially those that include 3D tours — nothing can replace the experience of getting into the apartment itself, speaking with the property manager, and envisioning your life there. Here’s how to get the most out of the tour.
Before You Arrive
After you get the tour set up, review the apartment listing again to see if you have any outstanding questions about the property — does it mention whether it’s pet-friendly? Parking in downtown Madison can be tight; does your apartment have a place for your car? Jot down those questions to ask during the tour. Also look at a map of the surrounding area for anything else you might want to check out when you make the trip over. Can you walk to the Capitol Centre Market? How far are you from the Capital City Trail?
At The Tour
It’s easy to rush through the tour — pop into the bedroom, open the closets, and deem that everything seems to be in order. But take your time. Look out the windows and see if the view is something you’ll want to stare at every day. (Chances are, if you’re overlooking Lake Mendota or Monona, you’ll be more than happy to.) Observe the traffic outside and your parking situation. Take a close look at the bathtub, try flushing the toilet, and peek under the sinks and into cabinets. Check for any signs of water damage or pests.
The tour is also a great time to get to know the property manager, whom you will come to rely on for any housing questions or needs. In addition to the outstanding questions you have about the apartment listing, also be sure to ask the property manager these basic questions to ensure the apartment is a good fit for you:
- What is the process for getting something fixed?
- Does the pet policy apply to visitors?
- What is the guest policy? Would it be OK to list the unit on AirBnb?
- Is there an enforced quiet time in the building?
- Which of your neighbor’s rooms is on the other side of your bedroom wall? Your living room?
- Is the building marketed as a student community?
- If the utilities are the tenant’s responsibility, how much do they typically run?
- What is next in the application process?
Don’t worry about asking too many questions — that’s why you’re there. At the end of the tour, if you’re interested, ask what happens next and what the timeline should be.
After the Tour
If you’re touring a couple of apartments, the details will start to meld together. To ensure you don’t sign a lease for Apartment B because you think it has that spacious balcony that actually was at Apartment C, jot down notes about each property after the tour. Include details about the property manager’s answers, any concerns you have about the apartment, and your favorite features.
Choosing where you’re going to live for the next year (or more) can be a big decision, and the apartment tour is your best chance to make sure you’re happy with your choice. Happy apartment hunting!