Are you in the market for a new apartment and not quite sure how to begin your search? Maybe it’s your first time finding a place on your own, or perhaps the last time was such a disaster, you want to take extra care this time around. Whatever the case, we have some key tips for touring a new apartment in Perth Amboy, NJ, to help make sure you cover all your bases and find the perfect new pad.

Know your requirements.

We’re not suggesting that you enter the situation with a list of demands, per se, but this is going to be your home for the foreseeable future, so you do want to make sure that the place you choose checks off your top needs. (Or at least most of them.) This saves both you and any leasing agent from wasting time looking at places that would never work out for you.

Ask questions.

Before you let yourself fall in love with a place, make sure you know all the ins and the outs. What’s included with the rent (e.g. heat, hot water, gas, etc.)? What is the parking situation? What is the availability of maintenance staff, including regular and emergency requests? Are pets allowed and, if so, what are the restrictions, if any? Are there options for lease lengths outside of the standard 12 months?

Don’t be afraid to look everywhere.

You don’t have to be passive when touring an apartment. In fact, you should be the exact opposite. Part of seeing is also touching, in this situation. Open up closets and cabinets to make sure they don’t stick or that shelves aren’t warped or missing. Turn on the water to make sure the pressure is where it should be. You don’t want to move in and be surprised by a shower that produces a slow trickle. Flush the toilet(s). Turn all the lights on and off. Make sure smoke detectors are in each room. Watch out for the appearance of, or evidence left behind from, any unwanted critters.

Ask for a follow-up tour, at a different time.

If you’re just about ready to sign the paperwork, it’s worth asking for a second tour of the apartment, especially at a different time of the day. Most likely, you will have seen the apartment during a daytime showing, but there can be a lot to learn by coming back at night, including getting an idea of the noise level when your neighbors are most likely to be home as well. You may also want to visit the property on a weekend versus a weekday to make sure you aren’t unknowingly moving into a party center. In the least, a second viewing is always a good idea, just to make sure the place really is for you.

Write everything down.

Even if you notice small things that aren’t dealbreakers (e.g. dings in the cabinets, a pull in the carpeting, scuffs on the wall, etc.), make a note of everything. A physical note. Even if these are things you can happily live with, they’re all issues to record when you sign your lease so that the leasing office has an official record. This way, when the day comes that you move out, you won’t be charged for any damages you aren’t responsible for.