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Renting an apartment without physically seeing it before moving in is not ideal, but it’s also not impossible. Looking for a new place to live with the added challenge of not touring in person requires careful planning, a partnership of the right agent, and the willingness to trust pictures and videos. We have come up with a few suggestions to make the processes less stressful, so here are five tips on how to apartment hunt remotely.

Research the market

It is crucial that you familiarize yourself with the market you’ll be renting in. Research the city and find an area that you see is the best possible option for you and your lifestyle. Talk to people who already live in the city you’re looking into and ask which neighborhoods they recommend. Then make sure to look into the rental process. Are listings available months in advance, or are they available immediately? What are the standard amenities you expect in an apartment?

Another great way to gather information is to look at local blogs and real estate websites (like for up-to-date intel on the market. And always scour online listings in the areas you may be considering. By gaining a general knowledge on the lay of the land, including pricing, you can rule out any places that are asking for rent out of your budget.

Consider your commute

When moving to a new community, you should consider your commute to work from the get-go. It’s essential to understand how far the commute is to work, other neighborhoods, essential businesses, and what the traffic dynamics look like. Nothing is more frustrating than moving into a new place only to realize you’ll be stuck taking a long commute every day until your lease is up.

Find a reliable agent

Since you’re unable to be on the apartment hunt in person, you need to make sure that you find a reliable agent to stand in your place. An excellent way to find a trustworthy agent, if possible, is through referrals. If you are unable to then find brokers with consistent listings in neighborhoods, you are interested in, considering they’re most likely going to be the neighborhood experts. They can also provide detailed and accurate information regarding pricing, amenities, and commute times. Also, make sure that the person you look into is willing to work for a remote client and provide an abundance of photos and video chat tours through the apartment, as well as the building.

Research the building landlord

Say you have found a promising rental with an ideal location… There’s still research you should follow up with online. Lookup details of the building, such as when it was built, how many units it holds, and if a large management company owns the building. Make sure to also look into the management reviews. You don’t want any surprises when you first move in.

Get all of your documents in order

Once you have officially secured the apartment you’ve been looking for, you’ll want to find out what the landlord expects from their tenants. In competitive rental markets, landlords could be very picky, so have your documents out to make sure that you qualify for the apartment. Then hand them over to your agent so that they can kick off your hunt as soon as possible. A complete renter’s profile typically includes pay stubs, credit checks, bank statements, and possibly more depending on the complex.