First you need to ask yourself a few questions. Are you relocating and, if so, for how long? Are you testing out a neighborhood, are you choosing to live off-campus, or are you unsure you can afford to buy a home?
You need to determine the location you are considering and its proximity to work. If you want a residential neighborhood then you need to know if there are apartment buildings to choose from or mostly house rentals. If you have children then you need to determine whether your child will attend a private school or use the public school system.
When you rent in a community generally they will have a management company that oversees the day-to-day operations and have set prices for the units they rent. You will want to know if there is a doorman or super in the building both for security or if something needs to be serviced in your apartment. You will also want to make sure that you either have a laundry access in your apartment or on the premises. The condition of the unit and the interior of the building should give you a clear indication of how the building is maintained. You also need to inquire whether the building has a garage and what other fees are associated with the unit and how long a lease they are willing give you.
You should also drive around the neighborhood you are considering both at night and during the day so you have an idea about the noise and other residents that live in and around the area. Who are your immediate neighbors?
Fees associated with renting include one and a half months rent security, which you get back at the end of the lease, less any damages; first month’s rent and one month’s agent fee.
Prior to moving into any rental you should check for any damage, dents or marks and that all the appliances are in good working order. If there are any issues, it should be discussed with the landlord before signing a lease.