Are you ready to rent your first apartment? You've toured studios, one-bedrooms, and larger units—but you're still not sure which rental is the right one. Before you view more potential apartment rental picks or sign a lease, take a look at the top questions to ask. 

Is There A Security Deposit—And If So, How Much Is it?

Most rentals require a security deposit. Even though this may seem like an unnecessary extra expense, every tenant won't have the same standards as you. While you may maintain a pristine indoor environment, some renters could damage or destroy the flooring, appliances, or other parts of the unit. 

If a tenant causes these (and often other) types of issues, the security deposit provides the landlord or rental agency with a way to cover repair-related costs. The specific amount of the security deposit varies by building and landlord/rental company. Some apartments require a full month's rent as a security deposit—while others may accept a percentage.

What Does the Rent Include?

You've established that the monthly rent does not include the security deposit. But is that the only extra you will need to pay? Some apartments may include utilities (water/sewage, garbage collection, natural gas, and electric) in the monthly rental price. But others may separate these two costs. If the utilities are not included, you will need to set up and pay for the services on your own. 

Luxury apartments for rent and units in buildings or communities that feature extra amenities may also have additional use or activity-related charges. These could include a flat fee or per-service amount for the use of a fitness center/gym, pool, outdoor area, or parking/valet.

Can You Have A Pet In Your Apartment?

Is the building pet-friendly? Don't expect a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. While the landlord or leasing company may have no problems with your tropical aquarium or hamster hutch, they may not allow your canine companion or feline friend to move in. If the building does allow dogs and cats, ask if there are any restrictions. The landlord/management company may not allow specific breeds or sizes (of dogs) or may limit the number of pets you can have in your apartment. 

What Are the Lease Length Terms?

Does every unit have the same term lease? Do you really need to rent for a full year? Many buildings ask tenants to sign a 12-month lease. But some may offer short-term or flexible options. If the building does have a shorter-term lease available, make sure it won't cost you more than the total price of a 12-month rental. If two six-month rental periods cost significantly more than one 12-month lease, you may want to choose the longer option—especially if the landlord will allow you to sublet the apartment.

For more information on an apartment rental, contact a professional near you.