Mark Roemer image of measuring tape.

Measurements to Take Before You Lease

While living in your current residence, you are positive the things inside your place fit quite well. From experience, I, Mark Roemer, can tell you this can become a problem when you are moving. If you are a fan of Friends, you will know how hard it can be to move something into your home when it is too big to make it in the door. Who didn’t have a laugh when Ross and company were trying to get a couch up the stairs with Ross screaming PIVOT! While it is all fun and games on television, it can be a pain in the backside if it happens to you. For this reason, I have come up with the measurements you need to take before you sign the lease on your new place.

Current Belongings

To start with, you are going to want to take measurements of all the larger items that you have in your house presently. This is everything from your couch to your refrigerator. This way, you will know what measurements you are working with. There will be no need to take these numbers with you. Just take the measurements from the new place, and when you arrive home, you can review the numbers.

Should you start to discover some discrepancies, you will have one of two options. First, you can decide on the items that you can or are willing to replace. This can be quite an expensive undertaking. Depending on the item or items, it could cost you another ten thousand dollars to move into that new place. The other option is that you can continue looking for a new place to love. This option may also be something of a pain. Depending on the time you have left to move, this may not be the way to go. With housing in short supply in parts of the world, you have to bite the bullet and buy new things. After all, you never know when another place will be available within your price range.

New Place

Many times, when people are looking for a place, they have a look at the apartment and try to sign as soon as possible. Indeed, others will be interested in the apartment. Ask the landlord if he or she can give you 48 hours to do some thinking. It is not very likely that the current occupant will be leaving in such a rush that they can’t allow you some additional time. They may ask for a holding deposit that can be applied if you take the apartment. This will be the only way that you can assure yourself that they will not just let the next person sign the lease before you have time to do some research. Along with coming back a few times to see how the neighborhood is at different times of the day, you are going to want to schedule a time that you can take some measurements. It will make moving into the house much more relaxed if you happen to rent the property.

The first thing you are going to want to measure is the main entry. Most of them are indeed quite standard. However, if the apartment is on the older side, the standardization of doors may not yet have been implemented. Take a few minutes to measure the main entry door and any other accessible doors to the property. Since this is going to be the first obstacle that you will have to overcome when moving, it would be a significant number to have on hand.

Next, move on to any hallways or stairways that exist leading up to your door. This would be a great time to scope out the routes that you will need to take to get your stuff into the apartment. Pay particular attention to any tight turns or corners that exist. Take the measurements of these as well. It will be essential to know if you have longer furniture. Also, make sure of the height you are dealing with, as well. Most people only focus on the width and later find out they cannot get a piece of their furniture in because the height is too low for the item.

After that, you will want to measure the door and hallways that are actually inside the apartment. Often, exterior hallways and entryways are larger than the interior ones. Just because you can get your things inside the building does not mean you will be able to get it into the apartment. Verifying all is good with the interior will help you to make a decision.

Finally, you are going to want to measure the rooms in the apartment. Room size varies not only by country, state, or city but often room to room. I had a friend that told me his landlord said to him that all the rooms were 12×12. Come to find out, the bedroom was a little smaller than previously thought. It made getting his bed into the room a struggle. To the point, he had to remove the windows and bring it in through there.


You can never be too cautious when moving into a new place. I, Mark Roemer, suggest that you take all the time you have allotted to discover the things you need to before signing a lease. Depending on the length of the contract, a single signature can mean living with a decision for a long time. You never want to be surprised when it comes to moving into a new place. If the landlord or the tenant currently living in the apartment are willing to let you take measurements, it is best to move on to another location. I know that I said it might be a while before you find a new place. However, if you do sign the lease and find yourself needing to buy new furniture that you don’t have money for, this can be much worse. I wish you all the luck in the world while you are looking for your new place to live.