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6 Tips for Apartment Hunting During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By: Justin Chaplin
April 6, 2020

Summer is almost here, and you know what that means! Apartment hunters will be doing their leg work and looking for a new home during the pandemic. Coronavirus is throwing a wrench in people’s plans for the height of the moving season, but it’s still possible to relocate despite the challenging times.

You will need to take some extra precautions and practice careful distancing and health protocols to get your move done right. Here are our best tips for apartment hunting during the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Consider the Location

Despite all of the distancing measures and hygiene protocols, moving to a nearby apartment complex won’t be much of an issue. You can probably schedule a moving company (which are still considered essential businesses in many cities) quickly and without much hassle. Make sure to use a bonded and insured company with a solid reputation, but be prepared for last-minute cancellations or changes in plans.

However, moving to a large city might add a few layers of complications, especially if they are under shelter-in-place orders. You’ll need to consider your travel plans and avoid flying if at all possible.

It’s tough to say whether domestic air travel will be restricted in and out of Coronavirus hotspots like New York City, but flights are definitely slowing down. In many cities, you'll be required to quarantine for 14 days after landing.

Therefore, if you are moving to a new city, driving is a safer option. This is a trip you'll likely be taking solo to keep up social distancing protocols. Make sure to take extra hand sanitizer and stay proactive about your health and hygiene on the trip.

In general, make sure to follow these tips for moving safely.

2. Ask Friends for Insights

Say you've been eyeing a move to Denver for a while, but wanted to visit before making a decision. Unfortunately, that trip is probably not in the cards. However, it’s a small world and chances are you either know someone in your new city or can track down friends of friends. Inquire about the best apartment buildings and neighborhoods, and what to expect.

They may offer insights to the neighborhood and complex that you hadn’t considered, like noise levels from a nearby highway or which has the best amenities around. You may want to live in a neighborhood with lively nightlife once the dust settles!

There are still options if you don’t know anyone in your new location. Facebook Groups, Reddit, and City Data social groups can shed light on the intimate details of your new city.

3. Be Prepared to Rent Sight Unseen

Social distancing is going to make it nearly impossible to take multiple in-person tours of apartments. Leasing offices are also closing during coronavirus, but are still working remotely. Despite all of the challenges, it’s completely possible to rent an apartment without ever seeing it.

Once you get the hang of taking virtual tours and asking property managers the right questions, you’ll find it’s not as difficult as it seems. Virtual tours and handling everything online is going to become more common as we continue dealing with coronavirus.

If the thought of signing a lease before seeing the unit is terrifying, check out these tips for renting sight unseen.

4. Look Into Virtual Tours / 3D Tours

So what are virtual apartment tours? Instead of seeing a unit in person, you’re doing it with a property manager over Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or other methods. With the right method, you can still see a high level of detail with an apartment virtual tour and feel like you’re there in person. 

Some property managers may have a pre-made tour ready to go, or you can request a live tour to ask questions as you go. The upside is you can take multiple virtual tours of units in a single hour instead of scrambling to make appointments across your new city.

In addition to virtual tours, 3D tours are becoming popular as well. You'll see 3D tours on some Apartment List listings, and be able to walk through the apartment at your own pace.

To get started on your apartment hunt, just start the quiz on the top of this page. While searching, keep an eye out for these apartments with these badges.

5. Ask About Self-Guided Tours

If you live near an apartment complex you want to move to, ask the property management or landlords about self-guided tours. The landlord could welcome you in and allow you to walk through the complex and unit by yourself while practicing social distancing. You can even connect over zoom or phone, so you can ask questions about the property during the tour.

6. Keep Up the Hygiene Basics

Chances are high you will come in contact with others at some point while apartment hunting during a pandemic. Come equipped with hand sanitizer, and wear a mask and gloves if you have them. Even if you don't have a mask on hand, you can make your own easily!

In these unprecedented days, it’s also acceptable to decline a handshake. Explain you’re doing your best to social distance yourself and offer a friendly wave instead. 

If you do find yourself coming in contact with people, avoid touching your face, and wash your hand thoroughly after an interaction. It’s also a proactive practice to just wash your hands regularly throughout the day, especially when you come in from doing an essential errand, after speaking with someone, or before you eat. 

Final Thoughts

It’s crucial to stay healthy and keep your distance during the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it needs to upend your plans to move. With safety and precautions in mind, you can go apartment hunting during the coronavirus pandemic and come out the other side in a shiny new home.

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