Move In Day: Take Your Time With Paperwork

It's move-in day. You're sweating. The van is running outside. Your cat is nowhere to be found. The fridge contains half a bottle of Yoo-hoo and a block of cheese.

You sit with your PROPERTY MANAGER. She has a lot of papers.

PROPERTY MANAGER: . . . page 6b, local ordinance against wearing green on Friday . . .

YOU: Uh huh.

PROPERTY MANAGER: They're trying to repeal it. Initial there.

(You scribble on the line.)

PROPERTY MANAGER: Now page 6c, fines associated with attempting to recycle yogurt cartons . . .

(A horn honks outside. You look out the window. It seems your cat is in the moving van and is attempting to drive back to your previous address.)

YOU: Could we do this tomorrow?

PROPERTY MANAGER: Oh, sure.

YOU: I'll come to your office at 9 a.m. I, uh, just have a lot on my mind right now. I'll understand everything better then.

(You dash out the door, yelling for Mittens to be reasonable.)

There's a lot to do on move-in day, so call ahead to request your rental documents in advance. Go through them at your leisure, make note of your questions, then sign. When you hand in the lease, tell your property manager that you'd like to stop by the office for a chat.

A quiet, methodical trip through the details benefits you both: there's no stress or misunderstanding later!

Just Moved In? The Maintenance Team is Ready to Help

Just moved in? Something might be wrong.

No, no, don't worry; it's natural. Your landlord or property manager does her best, but it's hard to get to everything on the checklist. The water runs, the toilet flushes, and the fridge is chilling that moving day beer, but does the ice maker work? Will the washer lid close?

Test everything out, write down your troubles, then schedule a timely maintenance appointment. Really, call within the first day or two — the landlord will be more than happy to put things right for a new arrival, and acting quickly protects you from disputes later.

The Eyes Have It

Really, we can't emphasize this enough. Use your eyes — and the camera's.

Inspect every inch of your apartment on move-in day. Everything should look great. If not, it's your trusty property manager's job to make it so.

But no matter how stuff looks, take pictures of it. Every corner, every inch. Make sure they're date stamped, then save the pictures as long as you live there.

When it's time to move out, conduct a walk-through with your property manager. Some states legally require this, but if the manager is reluctant, politely insist. Look around together and point out damage. Ask if she sees anything that will affect your security deposit.

If there's a dispute, you have pictures.

Wasn't that simple?