Be Sure You Can Make an Easy Break
If there's one thing you need to know before choosing your new apartment, it's what will happen should you suddenly need to move out. Many apartment renters have been burned by contracts that require several months' additional rent before a lease can be broken.
It might not seem like a very critical caveat right now because you're planning on staying through the full term of your lease, but you never know what's going to happen. You could land a really sweet, one-of-a-kind job that's out of state, or perhaps you'll do anything (or pay any fee) to get away from that guy upstairs who blares polka music at 2 a.m.
Luckily, if you bring it up before you sign the contract, many landlords will agree to waive any penalties if you give at least a 30-day notice and find a subletter to take over the lease.