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Apartment Walk-through Checklist

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hand holding pen over paper with checklist

Location, tick. Price, tick. Sign, where? Wait, press pause.

The giddy high of finally finding what looks to be the perfect apartment in Bucharest. Though right now, it is

time to slow down and take a careful look. Let’s stay positive, but it is important to make sure

any issues are known, and dealt with now, so that there is less chance for headaches down the

road.

There are some factors that are out of your control, but this moment of going through our

checklist is very much time to take control.

Appliances

Remember now, new does not always mean better, most important is to ensure each appliance

is working. Now is not the time to be shy, do ask to see that all appliances are operating.

  • Make sure the oven works.
  • Ensure each element on the stove is operating correctly.
  • Ensure the oven is connected to the gas supply.
  • Is there an extractor fan above the stove? Is it functional?
  • Is the light in the oven working?
  • Does the fridge light work?
  • Does the washing machine work?
  • If there is a clothes dryer, does it work? If there is not one, allow a moment to consider

where you might dry clothes.

  • You could take note of any energy ratings of the appliances.

Sockets/plugs/electrical outlets

  • Do take along with you your phone charger and try each socket to ensure it is working.
  • Are there enough sockets? Especially on the kitchen worktop for your small appliances.
  • In the bedroom, is there a socket bedside?
  • Is there an outlet where you will have the TV? Which also is time to check the TV

connection is close by.

  • Is there a socket where you want to have the wifi router?

Bathroom

Perhaps one of the first places to check is the bathroom, and specifically the water pressure.

Again, do not be shy, let your eyes do the listening.

  • Run the bath tap, run the shower, make sure the water pressure is sufficient. Seeing is

believing.

  • Do look behind toilets and sinks for any leaks or drips.
  • Look for any gaps in tile grout or around pipes that enter the room.
  • Is there an external window or extractor fan for shower steam?
  • Do check the ceiling, especially in apartment blocks for any water stains. This could

signal that the tenants above have plumbing issues.

  • Does the bath have a bathtub blocker?

Heating/Cooling

The heating system is an important issue in Romania.

  • Does the apartment have its own boiler? Or is the heating system controlled by the

building’s administrator or local council?

A system out of your control can mean the heating coming on only when it is deemed cold

enough by others, the council for example. Then at end of the cool season, the heating may go

off before the warm weather has truly arrived leaving for chilly nights and mornings at home.

  • If you are viewing the property in the summer, think ahead for the winter.
  • Do the radiators/heaters have adjustable temperature controls, do they work?
  • Romania’s hot summers mean most apartments will have air conditioning in at least one

room. Ensure this works.

Romanian Apartment Life

Romania’s climate can be a factor to consider in apartment selection. Though each apartment

block is different despite looking the same, some local knowledge cannot hurt.

  • An apartment on the top floor can be cooler in the winter, the roof may not be insulated.

It can also be very warm in summer.

  • Any ground floor apartment could have cold floors during winter, but has the advantage

of being cooler in summer.

  • The ground floor and perhaps also the 1st floor may have less available natural light

than apartments above.

  • If you do not enjoy lifts, or perhaps you have a young family, the lower floors may

provide easier access.

Windows & Doors

  • Do the windows have insect screens? This is a must for summer when bugs love nothing

more than your bright lights. These screens are often removed in winter, cleaned and

then brought back during spring.

  • Do check all windows and any balcony doors for drafts.
  • Do all windows open and close correctly?
  • Do all doors open and shut smoothly? Are door handles in place and fixed?

Safety

There is a large gap between the safety standards of each residential property in Romania, but

this is an area that is slowly improving.

  • Check for smoke alarms, they are not always found in older apartments.
  • Gas alarm, an area that has improved, new regulations now require this.
  • Fire safety exists, another area that is improving. It is with a sigh of relief to see that the

new apartment blocks being built finally have fire stairs externally. This may be another

factor to consider if you are looking at older block buildings.

  • Do find out what is the fire evacuation plan for any emergency?

Damages

  • This is where photographs can play a key role. You may agree mutually through the

agent or directly with the proprietor that taking photos is the best option. Go through the

property slowly looking for any damages, cracks, marks on the wall, anything broken.

Ensure you keep a copy of any photos before presenting them.

  • Create an inventory or make note of any items left, if any, by the proprietor for tenants

use.

  • This process is likely to be done by the owner or agent when you move out, so cover

yourself now to avoid any future dispute over the deposit/bond.

Parking

Apartment planning of the past did not envision that today there would be so many cars on the

streets of Romania’s cities. From evening until late morning, parking spots are the hottest ticket

in town and can be difficult to find.

  • If you are moving into an apartment block and have a vehicle, do make sure you have a

designated parking space. This will save you numerous rides around your

neighbourhood searching for a space to park your vehicle overnight.

Bills & Contracts

Depending on the apartment block there may be an appointed administrator who manages and

collects the bills from each apartment. This is common in the older style apartment blocks.

  • The fee for the rubbish system is a set amount. It depends on your location as to how

much and how often this needs to be paid. The proprietor may ask you to pay this

directly, or they may organise this and then charge you.

  • Heating and water bills will vary according to the season and how much you use

naturally, but you might be able to ask kindly for an approximate figure.

  • Many lease and rental contracts and arrangements are agreed in the currency of Euros,

rather than the local RON currency. The only factor to consider here is that any currency

value changes could very the amount you might be expected to pay each month.

  • Most apartments have wifi internet installed. If not it is not a difficult process, nor is it

expensive. Do arrange this beforehand though.

Details

‘We think in generalities, but we live in detail’. Alfred North Whitehead.

  • Keep a close eye on any drains, to ensure that water runs quickly, so no sign of blocks

or clogs.

  • Pictures, frames, the touches that can make an empty apartment or house feel like

home. Feel, touch, knock, ask about the walls. Which ones will allow you to mount those

picture frames, and where in the home are they?

  • Is there enough areas for your clothes, is there sufficient wardrobe space?
  • Do you have a bicycle? Is there room on a balcony, or secured safely in a communal

area?

  • Curtains. You might be surprised at how many people miss this. Not so much if there are

any curtains, but do they work? Do they allow privacy in the evening from neighbours

across the way when your lights are on?

  • Do not ignore any musty or damp smells. Check all walls and ceilings for water marks.

Ideally the proprietor will be present for this process, do request this, if possible. Ensure that

after finding any faults, that repairs are made before signing, or moving in.

The rush of the excitement, but the reward for slowing down, in this moment could prevent long

lasting headaches down the line.

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