6 Things to Look for During an Apartment Inspection

When you’re moving out or moving into your new rental, it’s of utmost importance to do an apartment walkthrough and check if everything’s in working order – especially if you’re just about to start living in it. You don’t want to move into an apartment that’s not functional, right? Now, many landlords provide an inspection checklist to their tenants. However, some landlords will just leave you to it even though it’s their responsibility to fix everything before you move in. Either way, note any flaws and defects you identify, indicating what and where they are. Take photographs as well for more documentation. To make this walkthrough of yours successful, we’re giving you the list of 6 things to look for during an apartment inspection. So, let’s scroll for the ultimate checklist!


Let’s start from the very beginning. Everybody wants to walk into an apartment with that inviting and cozy vibe. Nobody wants to step inside their new home and see dirty corners, chipped walls, stains on the carpet, etc. So, here is the list of general things to look for during an apartment inspection:

  • Walls & Ceilings. During your apartment inspection, look more closely at the walls and ceilings, checking for chips and fractures, stains, mildew, and evidence of water leaks.
  • Flooring. If you have wall-to-wall carpets, look for stains, tears, or other evidence of damage. In addition, examine hardwood floors for scratches and water damage and tile for chips and mildew in the grout.
  • Defects. Examine the area for evidence of an insect or rodent infestation, such as droppings or chew and bite marks.
  • Electricity. Turn all light switches on and off to ensure that they are all running correctly. Do the same for any bathroom fans, and double-check each outlet to ensure it’s functional. Simply plugging your phone charger into each outlet is an easy method to accomplish this.

We asked Joan Brothers, President and Licensed Real Estate Broker at Manhattan Boutique Real Estate, what the most common issues with NYC apartments are.

She was kind enough to share her valuable knowledge: “The most common issues with NYC apartments is water damage from plumbing and mechanical issues but making sure all appliances are in working order is key to your enjoyment in the apartment, so focus on this as well”.


The fact is you can’t move into a new apartment or leave it be for the next tenants if you don’t check if it’s safe to live in it. Therefore, when it comes to safety, these are the things to look for during an apartment inspection and make sure you’re ready to move in or out:

  • Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Your apartment must have at least one smoke detector, but most will have more than one. A carbon monoxide detector is required if your apartment has a connected garage, fireplace, or fuel-fired heater. Check if these devices are installed and have green indicator lights indicating that they are working correctly. In addition, check if there’s fire distinguished – you must have one.
  • Fire escape plan. If your apartment is in the complex, look for a fire escape plan and try it out to make sure it makes sense.

We were curious whether landlords in NYC participate in the inspection process in any way.

According to Joan Brothers, “Landlords should inspect and take photos and notes and have both tenant and landlord sign, so both understand the condition of the apartment”.


One of these six things to look for during an apartment inspection should be insulation. And let’s get one thing clear – we don’t mean checking how your walls or roof are insulated. No, other things significantly affect how well your home is insulated. Let’s see what they are!

  • Windows. Ensure that all windows are in good condition, with no cracks or broken glass. Look for dampness between the panes, which indicates a hole that has to be filled. In addition, you should be able to open and lock each of your windows, and if you live on the ground level, many municipalities require bars on the exterior of the windows. Check your displays as well, ensuring they’re strong and free of tears.
  • Doors. Your doors should be properly sealed as well, especially the front door. You don’t want your doors opening and closing all the time when it’s windy, nor do you want them to let in the cold in the winter.
  • HVAC. If you have AC, make sure both heating and cooling features work. Moreover, you may need to ask your landlord to turn on the radiator for you to inspect. Check that the visible elements of your heating and cooling system, including filters, seem clean and well-maintained.


The kitchen is the heart of every home and the place where we spend most of our time. Therefore, you need to make sure everything is in working order there. Let’s see what things you should focus on during the apartment walkthrough!

  • You should test each appliance to ensure that it works properly. Check all the burners on the stove, the fan on the microwave or the hood over your range, and any other appliance features that you could overlook until you actually need them. If you have smart appliances, you need to check if everything is well-connected.
  • Sink. Inspect the faucet to ensure it is functional, then look beneath the sink to see if there is any water seeping from the pipes. If you have waste disposal, locate the switch and ensure that it works as well.
  • Refrigerator. Check if the refrigerator’s clean. It should be fully empty and free of any leftovers or stains from the former renter.
  • Kitchen Cabinets & Other Drawers. Cabinets and drawers should be spotless and simple to open and close. This is where you’ll want to keep an eye out for rodents or bugs since they prefer to congregate where there’s food.


Besides the kitchen, the bathroom is the next most used room in the house. Therefore, everything in this room should be functional as well as thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

  • Showers, Tubs & Faucets. Turn on all faucets to ensure an adequate water pressure flow, checking both hot and cold water to confirm they’re working correctly. Look for mold or mildew as well as rust. Check for chips, scratches, or cracks in the tile or porcelain in your shower and sink.
  • Toilet. Flush toilets to verify that they drain and fill properly. Return a few minutes later to listen for any continued noises of running water, which would indicate that the tank is not in the proper working order.
  • Smell. The general smell of a bathroom may reveal a lot about its condition. Take note if you detect a damp or musty odor since mold and other sorts of water damage are not often obvious on the surface.


Last but not least the room you should put on your list is the bedroom. Now, this is where you’ll start and end each day of yours. Therefore, you need to make sure you can create a perfect tranquil oasis. To do that, there are a couple of things to look for during an apartment inspection and make sure everything is in the perfect working order:

  • General. Bedrooms are often a blank slate in terms of what is in them. As part of your apartment inspection, you will have previously examined their essential elements, such as windows, flooring, walls, and heating and conditioning. As you did in the bathroom, take note of any specific odors resulting from anything spilled on the carpet or water leakage behind the walls.
  • Closets. Check the closets to ensure that any built-in storage systems are solid and in good shape. Additionally, closet doors should be easy to open and close.

Home inspection? Check!

So, is an apartment inspection in NYC really necessary?

“When buying an apartment, if you feel equipped to inspect it, that is fine. We suggest it is always a good idea to hire an inspector”, Brothers observes.

Once you’ve examined everything, you can peacefully move into the apartment. Start making inventories of your belongings, packing your boxes, transferring your utilities, and searching for movers. And don’t forget to declutter, as well. If you’re downsizing, a single decluttering session could rid you of a lot of excess things that would otherwise clutter your home. If you are moving to NYC from a different state, it can help you lower your moving expenses. Even if you’re moving locally, it’s a great way to start fresh in your new apartment. Sort through your things, get rid of everything you don’t use or need, and then the relocation team in the area can help you move the rest.

Final thoughts

Nobody wants to move into a faulty apartment with many things not working properly – not you nor the person after you in your previous apartment. That’s why you need to do a thorough walkthrough. We gave you six things to look for during an apartment inspection that will reveal all the red flags you need to pay attention to. So, bring this list with you into an apartment and start inspecting!

How can we help you?

Complete this quick form and we will have an associate reach out to you immediately.