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How to Rent Sight Unseen: Tips for Today’s Renter

The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives and with a lot of renters unable to visit their future apartments, renting sight unseen has become more popular than ever. So, whether you’re unable to travel for a viewing or you’re thinking about moving into a building that is currently under construction, here are the things you need to consider when renting sight unseen. 

Don’t Fall Shy of Asking Questions 

Moving into a new place is already overwhelming as it is and adding the inability to actually see it in person can make it even more stressful for most. The important thing is that, at the end of the journey, you feel happy with your decision when you sign that lease. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns and ask as many questions as you need to put your mind at ease. Remember, this might be your home for a very long time, so being thorough is a must. If possible, take as many notes as possible and list all the questions you might want to ask the landlord. 

A Picture Isn’t Always Worth a Thousand Words 

The magic that a professional photographer and a dash of photo editing can cast on an apartment can be deceiving and relying solely on pictures is not the best option. Instead, ask the landlord or property manager for a video tour and any available floorplans or blueprints. This will give you the best perspective on your future home, not only regarding the small nooks and corners that might need some sprucing up but also for you to understand measurements better and how your furniture might fit in. 

Research is Essential 

Getting as much information as possible is detrimental when you can’t be there physically. This is where reviews come in handy, especially those from unbiased tenants. Don’t limit yourself to just the building; check out the neighborhood as well in order to get a feel of what it’s like living in the area. Whether you’re interested in having an active social life and expect to have restaurants and bars just around the corner, or you’re looking for a more family-friendly spot surrounded by play areas and schools, Google Maps is your friend. When searching for an apartment, keeping to the city’s outskirts will give you the most bang for your buck, while downtown areas provide more accessibility to different amenities. 

Technology is Your Friend 

And speaking of friends, the one that you really need to embrace in this journey is technology. With so many platforms available, setting up a video walk-through should be as easy as a piece of virtual cake. Skype, FaceTime or Zoom are just a few of the many tools that you can use to get eyes on the ground. Some places even offer VR tours for more tech-savvy renters that want to get a better look at their future apartments from the comfort of their own homes. 

A Short-Term Lease Can Bring Long-Term Comfort 

A short-term lease can be the only fail-proof plan that will keep you away from being stuck in a nightmare apartment disguised as a daydream. While they might be more expensive, they are a better alternative than long-term leases, which might not offer you the possibility to opt-out as soon as something isn’t right. You can always ask your landlord to switch to a longer lease once you’re confident you’ve made the right decision. 

There is no perfect plan for renting sight unseen but just like with anything else in life, remember to trust your gut and if something sounds too good to be true, then make sure to check it twice or continue browsing. 

Andrea Neculae
Andrea Neculae
Andrea Neculae is a creative writer at RentCafe, with a passion for bringing human-interest stories to light. Writer by day and bookworm by night, she loves reading and reviewing anything from the classics to sci-fi and fantasy. Her writing skills are complemented by a special interest in graphic and web design. From research about the rental market to home décor and interior design, Andrea’s articles cover many layers of a renter’s universe. With an academic background in Language Arts, Andrea is always looking to develop new skills and further her knowledge. You can connect with her via email.

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