Read your contract carefully:
First and foremost thing you should do is to read each and every word of the contract. The most common mistake that people make is to sign the agreement without going until the last words. Do not skip the terms and conditions as they can go against you in case of any dispute.
Take your time:
You should not rush to sign the contract rather take your time to understand each and every line of the agreement. You may seek help from an experienced person or your legal adviser. Make sure that everything is according to the discussion you had earlier with the other party. If there is anything ambiguous then appropriate changes should be made immediately.
Visit the actual place:
You must not sign the contract without checking actual condition of the property. Plan a visit, on or off record and make sure that everything is same as it has been said. Note if there is any irregularity, inform the property manager and ask for repair or compensation.
Ask the neighbours:
Interviewing some of the property neighbours can be really helpful as you can have a clear indication about the owners and their conduct. Try to find out how well and quick they are in giving response to the complaints. Ask them about the safety measures as no one can tell you better than the actual residents.
Keep a record of actual owner:
If you are dealing with middleman then it is very important to have complete information of the actual owner. This will make things lot easier if there is any dispute in future. You can address the owner directly if the property manager is not listening to you.
Get some insurance policy:
Though, this optional but still it can be beneficial in case of any unfortunate incident. Contact your insurance agent and ask him about your choices.