A chinchilla could be considered as a pet, but bear in mind that they are naturally nocturnal and therefore will sleep during the day and only be active at night time.
It is better to get a pet chinchilla at a very young age to ensure that it gets used to be handled and also the amount of attention it is likely to receive.
They do like company but make sure that any companions are of the same sex to avoid any unexpected litters appearing.
A pet breeder with a good reputation is a good place to start in the search for your chinchilla. Wherever you go be it a pet store or specialist it will be easy to detect if the conditions are good.
Animals will be in clean living quarters and look healthy. Signs of good health to look out for include a shiny coat and eyes, alertness and watch them move, to make sure that they are not lame. [Pet health]
Obviously the seller will not want over handling of the chinchillas but it should be possible to make some sort of approach. Especially as you need to know if it has a reasonable temperament. As mentioned it could take a chinchilla a bit of time to get used to being handled.
A chinchilla is very active and playful; they like to eat plenty of roughage in their diet. Their cages should be large enough to have several levels and hold plenty of activity equipment. They also require access to a dust bath because that is a big part of their cleaning routine.