Once you have decided which houses or apartments you like, you can make appointments with the landlords, in order to view them in person. First of all, make at least three appointments before you go to see a house; this will give you the chance to compare the pros and cons and the prices of the houses you visit on a particular day. It is recommended that you take a pen and a notepad or a camera along when you tour the houses, so that you can record the flaws and plus points of all the apartments, which were not mentioned in the listing.
Note how spacious the property is, and what its actual storage space is. Remember, it is the actual storage space and not the apparent space that will matter once you move in with your belongings.
Check how well the house or apartment has been maintained – look at the doors, windows, roofs, and even the gutters and plumbing.
Run the taps in the kitchen as well as in the bathrooms, to check if they are all in working condition. Ask the owner to show you if the heating and hot water works.
Carefully observe how well heated the place is and how well insulated it looks – this will affect your future bills.
Ask the owner or his/her agent to show you the operating instructions for electrical appliances, as well as the gas safety certificate. You should also note if the sockets are enough to meet your requirements.
Confirm whether the property meets the fire safety regulations.
Check if it is a furnished or unfurnished accommodation; if furnished, inquire about which furnishings will be in the house when you move in.
Ask yourself how secure you feel in this house/apartment. Check the locks on all the entry doors, as well as on the windows.
If viewing an apartment, ask the owner whether you will have your own mailing box.
Whether you own a vehicle or not, do ask the owner if there is parking space available.
Find out how close the transport links are – is it easy to travel to your workplace, and how close are other amenities, like shops, etc.
Visit the area at different times in the day – morning, midday, evening and night – to check how safe the area is.
Talk to the previous tenants, to find out what kind of problems they faced during their stay here. Ask them what made them leave this house.
Never sign a lease the same day you see the house/apartment. Schedule a second appointment, and bring a close friend or a family member with you the next time you go there.