As you embark on your journey to find a new apartment, chances are you have your checklist of priorities. Square footage, storage space, updated finishes and fixtures and pet-friendly accommodations are just a handful of things that might be top-of-mind. But, just as important as the four walls of your apartment is the relationship you can expect with your landlord. A foundation of trust and transparency is critical if you’re going to love where you live. So, before you sign a lease, here are four steps to finding a good landlord.
Step 1: Research online apartment ratings & reviews
Just like researching a restaurant or hotel, you should be able to locate online reviews for reputable apartments. You can find these in a multitude of places, but most commonly through Google, third-party apartment sites like Apartments.com, and via social media channels. While those with strong opinions, one way or the other, are usually more apt to share their experiences, you can make some general assumptions about the property’s landlord based on the volume of positive versus negative reviews.
Spend some time to understand the nature of people’s comments as well. Do you notice any themes in the feedback? It does not take long to discern whether someone has a legitimate issue or is simply using the platform to vent. Also, take note of whether the landlord/property manager is engaging in the discussions and addressing the feedback to help rectify any issues.
Step 2: Google the property and management company
In addition to scouring online reviews, a simple Google search might give you some valuable insight and make you a more informed resident. Try searching the name of your landlord/management company along with the property name to see what pops up. You might be pleasantly surprised to see that your landlord is regularly in the news for its development plans and industry expertise, or the property itself was featured locally for a charitable partnership in the community. On the other hand, negative news might make you think twice, or at minimum, arm you with the knowledge you need to ask some important questions should you decide to pursue that apartment further.
Step 3: Observe the customer service experience
From your very first conversation with your potential landlord, pay attention. A few things to note:
- Was it easy to get a hold of someone and were calls/emails returned in a timely manner?
- Was your apartment tour handled professionally? Were all your questions addressed and was any subsequent follow-up thorough and helpful?
- Was your contact personable? Try to use any interaction as an opportunity to gauge personalities – doing so will hopefully help ensure you will feel comfortable dealing with the landlord before you sign a contract.
- Did the landlord try to get to know you? Were they asking questions to see if you would be a good fit for the property? It’s important to know that your landlord cares and is making a genuine effort to start a relationship with you.
Step 4: Talk to the neighbors
Seeking out feedback from current residentswill help you gain an inside perspective on what it will be like to live there and what kind of landlord/property management company you’ll be dealing with. Do not hesitate to stop someone you see taking a walk on property, or maybe even knock on the door of your future neighbor to learn more about their experience. These people have been in your shoes and are often more than willing to answer questions and offer advice.
Think through your questions ahead of time so they address your priorities as specifically as possible. For example, you might want to know how responsive the landlord is when an issue arises, or about the quality and timeliness of maintenance services, or the friendliness of the on-site team. These conversations might also give a glimpse into how engaged residents are overall with the landlord and management team.
As a landlord of 15,000 apartment homes in 120+ neighborhoods, Redwood prides itself on creating meaningful relationships. For years, the company has been recognized for its dedication to providing a remarkable resident experience, and part of that is through an ongoing commitment to resident appreciation.