If you’ve accepted a job offer in a new city and need an apartment, but can’t meet with the landlord to physically sign the lease, are you out of luck? How about if you decide it is time to move cross country, you know where you want to live but don’t have time to check out apartments before you arrive. Is it impossible to find a place without visiting? The answer is no. Renting an apartment remotely is completely possible and can save you time and money by forgoing a trip to the new city. Moving to a place you haven’t seen in person can be risky, so follow these tips to ensure you end up in a home you love.
Do your Homework
If you are moving to a city you’ve never been to, you’ll need to do a ton of research about the city before deciding on an apartment. Ask questions on City-Data forums to get advice from the city’s locals. Have any friends or family living in the new city? Give them a call and pick their brains. Looking for a neighborhood that’s walkable and bikeable? Check out the neighborhood on Walk Score. After finding a few neighborhoods that you’re interested in, you can begin searching for apartments in those neighborhoods.
Use the power of Google Maps to map out your commute. If you know what your new schedule will be, you can see how traffic will look during your commute times. If you’re driving to work, simply plug in the neighborhood and your new office address during the times you’ll be commuting. If walking, do the same, but the time won’t matter as much. Also, consider using public transportation. A simple search Google search will give you tons of information on transit options.
Contact the Landlord
For the apartments that make your shortlist, get in touch with the landlord. Calling instead of emailing will probably be more efficient. Let the landlord know of your current situation and how you can’t visit in person. Most will be accommodating, and have methods for lease signing for these situations.
Ask for Photos
Yes, you will see photos of what a unit looks like when searching the apartment online. However, this could lead to some issues. They might be displaying a freshly redone unit, and you could be in for a surprise when you open the door to an outdated unit. Ask for detailed pictures of the apartment that capture the layout, appliances, and apartment details. If possible, see if the landlord can take you on a video tour of the unit.
Consider the Lease Options
After doing an extensive amount of research, hopefully you end up in a neighborhood and apartment you love. If things don’t go as smoothly, you can always consider shorter leases. Short-term leases aren’t offered by many landlords, but if you can find one, it could be worth it. This will allow you to test out the neighborhood and get a feel for it. If you don’t love it, you can move on after a short period of time. If it’s everything you’re looking for, you can commit to a longer lease. There are some downsides, so know the differences between long and short-term leases.
Prepare your Documents
Your landlord will be requesting paperwork from you if you decide to apply, so make sure to have everything in order. If you are starting a new job, have the job offer in your application to prove you’ll have a stable income. Also, include pay stubs from your previous employer with your application. For all the paperwork you’ll need for the apartment application process, check out this guide. You might also be asked for references, so make sure to have those ready with proper contact information.
With today’s technology, finding an apartment remotely has never been easier. Just be sure to do your research, and be proactive in communicating with your potential landlord. You’ll be able to find a home you love without being able to physically see the apartment.