What would happen if you needed to find a new apartment, but simply cannot do an in-person tour? Fortunately, it is possible to do pretty much anything virtually nowadays. That includes virtual apartment tours. It goes without saying that the Covid pandemic has vastly changed the way we normally do things. Live, in-person tours have always been the preferred way to look at potential places to live. However, that is now easier said than done due to social distancing. The bottom line is that most rental properties cannot be visited in person right now. The good news is that we can use technology instead. Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime, and Facebook Messenger have become more important than ever. You can use these tools to communicate effectively with landlords, property managers, and real estate agents. You can even virtually tour all the apartments that you are interested in seeing in person.
Although virtual apartment tours have been available for years, they have become mainstream during the Covid pandemic. In the past, virtual apartment tours were mainly used for people who were moving from out of town. They offer both accessibility and convenience. Most virtual apartment tours focus on rooms and the amenities within the apartment unit and or building. It’s more important now to receive additional guarantees. The bottom line is that you need to know for sure that you are getting what you see on the screen.
People across New England are doing their part in the Covid pandemic by staying home as much as possible. However, landlords still need to fill apartment vacancies. Tenants still need to find apartments. A virtual apartment tour is the next best thing when you cannot meet in person. Virtual apartment tours, or an online 360-degree overview of the unit, can certainly be the solution.
When your tour any apartment it is important to ask a bunch of questions. This holds even more true when you can’t see the apartment in person before moving in. You need to keep in mind that a virtual apartment tour shows a lot about the place. However, it does not always tell the entire story. You need to fill in the blanks by creating a comprehensive list of questions. In fact, it’s a crucial piece of the virtual apartment tour puzzle. Simply imagine that you’re actually at the property with the real estate agent. Write down each question that you may have.
That way you will remember to hit all the important points. Remember that no questions are off limits. You are investing in a place to live. Your new apartment will be your home for the foreseeable future. Start by questioning the overall aspects of the virtual apartment tour. It should show you multiple views of every room in a clear and easy to see manner. This includes any built-in shelving units, the inside of the closets, and views of the hallway or hallways. If that is not included in the tour, question it. In essence, ask the real estate agent if you can see these things on your virtual tour or in additional media.
Ask More Questions
Ask to see the inside of the kitchen cabinets, and inside of the bathroom vanity. A good virtual apartment tour will include footage that looks outside the windows. You should ask the real estate agent if it includes views from all the windows in the apartment. That way you will be able to tell if you face the trash bins. You also want to ask about the overhead lighting situation. This is often overlooked in virtual apartment tours.
It is necessary to know if lamps are going to be your only source of light once you move in. Ask to see all angles of the bathroom including the bathroom fixtures and the ceiling. You need to make sure that the bathroom or bathrooms fit your needs. You also need to ensure that there is not any mold on the ceiling or walls. When taking a virtual tour of the kitchen, always confirm that the appliances are included with the lease.
List Of Additional Questions To Ask
You should always ask the landlord or real estate agent the following questions. Although some may sound odd, strange or even unnecessary, they are all important for different reasons.
Where Is the Strongest and Weakest Cell Phone Reception On The Property?
Although this question may sound like it is coming from left field, it’s an important one to ask. You certainly cannot test it out for yourself when talking a virtual apartment tour. You also cannot assume that the apartment has good cell phone reception. You just never know, especially with some of the older apartment buildings in Boston and surrounding areas. Think about how annoying it would be to constantly drop calls when using your smartphone at home. This becomes an even more important issue if you work from home. Most people do not have landlines these days.
Did You Show Me All of the Rooms, Areas and Features Within the Unit and the Building?
Often virtual apartment tours will overlook areas such as the lobby, laundry room, and outdoor living space. That means you need to ask to see them. Sometimes these details can make or break the deal. For example, if the lobby is beautiful, it can make you feel good whenever you leave or come home. On the other hand, if the laundry room is nasty, you may not want to do your laundry there.
If the outdoor living area looks nice it may be a place you want to hang out in. However, if it is dirty or filled with cigarette butts you probably do not want to spend your time there. In addition, is there enough storage for all your stuff? Can you fit your furniture? Things like that are incredibly important.
Is There Anything Odd About the Apartment?
You certainly do not want to be unpleasantly surprised by anything strange about the apartment after you move in. That is why it’s important to ask if there are any funky noises or unpleasant smells. You just never know if the apartment is located within close proximity of a loud boiler room, or near the garbage processing facility. If you suffer from sensitivity to a particular smell, tell the real estate agent ahead of time. That could save you from an incredibly unpleasant living experience.
Is the Water Pressure Consistent?
The water pressure may not be something you think about when looking at apartments. This holds especially true on a virtual tour where you cannot turn on the shower or faucets. That is why you need to ask the real estate agent. Most real estate agents will give you an honest answer. However, it is important to work with a real estate agent that is both experienced and trustworthy. Just imagine living in an apartment where the water pressure is not up to par. It would be annoying at best, especially when taking showers and washing the dishes.
Is There Anything Else That I Need to Be Aware of But Can’t See in the Video?
This is yet another question that you may feel odd asking, but it is important to know the answer. You need to see if there is anything else about the apartment that you should be aware of. For example, did the video camera fail to paint the full picture on the conditions of the walls? You certainly do not want to rent an apartment that needs new plaster or wallboard. The same holds true for the floors. Are all the wood, carpet, and/ or tiles in good condition? You are spending good money renting an apartment in Boston. You need to ensure that it lives up to your basic standards.
Can I View the Exterior of the Building?
If you were touring the apartment in person, chances are you would check out the exterior of the building. You would most likely take a walk around the entire perimeter of the building. You would do this to make sure it was in good shape all around, and the neighborhood was to your liking. Although you cannot do this in person right now, you can ask the question. You can also request a video tour of the exterior of the property. That way you can sign the lease knowing that you are moving to a building you’ll enjoy.
How Close Are the Neighbors?
It is always good to know how close your neighbors are for various reasons. You could see how close the doors are if you were viewing the apartment in person. However, you cannot always tell from a virtual apartment tour even if it includes footage of the hallway. Yet that is incredibly important information. This holds especially true for people who don’t like living in close proximity to others. You may require a bit more space and distance from your neighbors.
Can I Schedule the Virtual Apartment Tour During the Day?
Smart apartment hunters always schedule tours of the units that they are interested in during the day. This is because you can see a heck of a lot more with natural light. The same exact thing holds true when scheduling a virtual apartment tour if it is being done over Zoom or Facetime. That way the video will show more of the little details that you simply cannot see when it is dark at night. Natural light makes a huge difference. However, if the tour is pre- recorded or in a 3D walk- through format then this should not matter.
Verify and Get Everything in Writing
It is important to verify that the apartment you virtually toured is the same apartment that you have inquired about. You can confirm the address through email. That way you will have it in writing that the tour matches the apartment you are interested in. In essence, it matches the unit listed on the website. Even if the landlord and or real estate agent thoroughly described the property details verbally, get it in writing. .
Ensure That the Lease Protects You
You have the advantage of testing out and seeing all the small things when you tour an apartment in person. The same does not hold true when you rent based on a virtual tour. That makes it even more important to protect yourself when it comes to the lease agreement. You need to think of all the items that you would test in person, such as the water pressure as mentioned above. Make a list of those things. Make sure that the lease states the following: if any of the items on the list are not working or missing, they will be repaired or replaced.
These common items include light switches and fixtures. They also include working electrical outlets, locks, and deadbolts on the doors and windows. In addition, you should include the water pressure, hot and cold water in the kitchen and bathroom or bathrooms. Do not forget to include the heat and AC if the apartment has AC.
For the Most Virtual Apartment Tour Options, Go to Boston Pads
In conclusion, Boston Pads wishes you the best on your search for your next apartment. We sincerely hope that you are staying safe and remaining healthy during this incredibly difficult time. If you need help finding an apartment in Boston or surrounding area we are here to help. If you would like to schedule a virtual apartment tour, we will get that set up for you. Boston Pads is your Boston real estate specialists. Find Boston apartments using the area’s largest real-time database. You can also utilize our real estate portal to gain insights on the Boston rental market.
All of our professional real estate agents are enthusiastic, friendly and committed to helping you through the entire process. From your initial apartment search to your virtual apartment tours, to signing your lease, we have you covered. If you are planning to move to Boston or a new apartment in the city, please contact us today. https://bostonpads.com/. You can even see how much per month you should be spending on rent based on your income on our Rent Calculator. https://bostonpads.com/rent-calculator/. We look forward to working with you.
Published April 9, 2021
Demetrios has pulled together the largest apartment leasing team in the Greater Boston Area and is responsible for procuring more apartment rentals than anyone in New England – with over 130k people finding their housing through his services. Demetrios is an avid real estate developer, peak performance trainer, educator, guest lecturer and motivational speaker.