You must know the neighborhood, the surrounding areas, how comfortable you are with the area in terms of living, driving and overall safety.
2. Rent* cost
Figuring out if the rent* has utitlies or other amenities included in the cost.
Some people may find really cheap base rent but high utitliy cost or other monthly fees to make up for it.
3. Monthly fees
Such as for pets
Trash valet services*
Utitlies under a different company and etc
4. Size of the apartment
Don't be fooled by the numbers online, it's better to look at the apartment in person and figure out if your furniture can even fit first of all. The apartment may have bigger square footage, but the dimension might be weird and they may not have a sizable doorway all those things.
5. Parking situations
If there's assigned parking spots or a fee for additional cars and etc.
6. Unexpected rules
Restrictions and complex rules
Watch out for the restrictions they may have despite how appealing the complex looks.
7. Personal experiences
Talk to people who has personal experience with the complex and their company. Talking about how fats maintenance is, what they charge and etc. How fast a landlord or complex fix issues and how they deal with neighbors and all sorts of other conflicts.
Please please if you are going to have roommates, make sure you can trust them. Over 50% of problems people have with roommates is distrust and dishonesty. There needs to be more open communication, need to understand how other people live and compromise with each other to make living bearable. Sign a contract and have a 3rd party witness there to see that the people in the party signed and will adhere to the rules and their end of the bargain about rent, money, groceries, laundry and etc.
Make sure you can afford the rent and other surprise costs that may occur. Have at least enough money for a deposit and one month of rent. Talk to the landlord or complex about late fees, or leeway on when rent is supposed to be due.
This goes back to location. Find out the common places you frequent too and how long it takes to get there, as well as the traffic patterns.
Do a complete walkthrough of the exact unit you want to rent. Make sure the toilet runs, the sink runs, the bathtub drains, the shower works and the water pressure as well as heat, plus the AC and heater. Check if there is centralized heater and/or AC. Open and close any doors, windows, cabinets, drawers the unit may have.
12. Document everything
Before you officially move in and make any payment toward the unit make sure to take pictures of everything and anything you see especially stain marks, broken Furniture, mold anything that is less than stellar so when you finally leave that the landlord or complex cannot charge you for something that was already there before you moved in.