Check the layout and where your apartment is near to assess for potential security issues or noise and such. See what lighting is available for nighttime security.
Is there a security light that will shine right in your apartment window? Maybe talk to a few neighbors to get their assessment.
Are a lot of people moving out or in? A lot of students parties? domestic disturbances? Sort of be a detective.
Check the amenities out and see what shape they are in.
Is the pool closed? Heated? What conditions is the exterior of the buildings? When was it built?
A lot of this info you can get before you get there from various resources mentioned in previous articles but you always need to double and triple verify. People give inaccurate information and conditions change and so forth.
You may even want to try the drive from the apartment to the facility to get an idea of drive time and obstacles. All of the above shouldn't take all afternoon unless you enjoy playing Sherlock Holmes or a tad bit obsessive.
Now that you are satisfied you can now meet the leasing agent. Be friendly but assertive because they can be a great resource and they will be the person to troubleshoot problems. Make sure they walk you through the apartment. When you do a walk through write down problems on clip board with carbon paper between so they get a copy and you keep the original.
Below is a reminder lists of things to check .
Open all blinds and turn on all lights to see better
Check for bugs everywhere.
Condition of walls, carpet, tiles.
Door locks and window locks for effectiveness.
Bathroom ventilation fan (does it actually have a vent outside ask to see).
Dryer Ventilated to outside (some aren't which can make it hot).
Toilet flushes well.
Good water pressure, hot water, clean.
Cabinets in good condition.
Closet/room doors in good condition.
Has all of the furniture arrived if rented (condition, fleas).
Fire Extinguishers and locations (current tag).
Location of mailboxes (does your key work).
Thermostat AC/Heat/Fan working.
Fridge condition, temperature, Freon leaks.
All cable outlets work.
Location of phone outlets.
Washer/Dryer working (making any noises).
Location of Trash.
Laundry room condition, number of washers/dryers, cost, distance from apartment
Listen to noise from stairs, other doors closing, general sound-proofness.
Ask about maintenance policy, landscaping times.
Location of Parking, visitor parking, (covered or not, important in areas such as AZ).
Ask about closest grocery store and other community info
IMPORTANT: Use your instincts and do not take residency in housing that obviously unacceptable other than problems that could be easily fixed.
Make an agreeable time and date items will be fixed. If you take residency you will lose leverage to get another apartment.
If you do not take residency inform the recruiter on call immediately and the leasing agent.
Make a clear agreement about going to a hotel and that you can transfer the hotel bill to them.
Use your AAA Travel guide for info on a hotel near your facility and that is suitable and affordable. Try to get a hotel with High-speed Internet Access (wireless if possible) so you can use your lap top to help finding another apartment.
Be assertive not aggressive first. Try to work with your recruiter to find a reasonable solution. If that does not work use the chain of command but always keep communication channels open.
It may happen sometimes even after appropriate research. Think of problems as challenges or a game and you are more likely to be successful.
First Aid Kit
AAA Card with VIN number
Poncho/Jacket/Gloves if car stuck in cold weather
Old cell phone (analog) if not on your current cell. Allows you to call 911 without service in places where there is no digital coverage.
Small tool kit
Ice Scraper (cold weather)
Emergency Weather Alert Radio
2 way radios if separate vehicles (GPRS/GRMS)
Eye Glasses/Sun Glasses
Meds including Maalox, Imodium AD (Travelers sickness)
AAA Travel Guide to visiting states
Comfortable/Loose Travel clothes
Separate clothes/items you will need at hotel stops
Address book with numbers of Recruiter/On call Recruiter/ Reliable friends
Contact numbers for Apartment Agent and agreed times to meet
Camera to document your Trip
Rolling Light weight suitcases can help keep things secure/not loose and organized. Also provides for easy unloading.
Snacks for the Trip (Yummy!).
Toilet paper (cushioning and emergencies)
Pillows (they never give you enough also helps cushion in vehicle)
Linens (I like my own and cushioning)
Humidifier (Dry Environment like AZ)
Febreeze for odors
Alarm clock (battery operated) I use my cell phone
Some items that are compact but make you feel at home.
AAA Travel Guide of the area
Small phone Book so you can carry in car
Good Map of the area/GPS handheld like Gorman to navigate
Eye Cover/ Blackout Covers for windows for us night people
Apartment Finder/Guide from Apartment complex/Real Estate Company
If alternate housing is needed (has good maps to see locations)
Telephone non-cordless with light up dial for when the power goes out $9
Bug Spray/ Roach Discs/ Maybe Bomb (Bug Spray) apartment before unpacking
Extra key copies
Small vacuum if not supplied
Light weight Laundry basket/bag
Travel Alarm for front door
Stick to lock sliding patio door/ small saw to cut to proper length
Spices, Pot pans etc just enough if not supplied (Try to bring multi purpose items).