So you landed yourself a job in a new town or city. Or maybe you moved to be with a significant other, or just decided to move to a new place to begin a new chapter. Whatever your reasons may be, there’s no denying that looking for houses to rent can be a stressful and challenging task, let alone doing it during a pandemic and a recession when all bets are off. Here are some pointers and tips for finding the best place to live in a weird and unprecedented time like 2021.
You may have an advantage if you’re moving to an area that you already know well. Still, if you’re switching zip codes, neighborhoods, or even harder, states—then you need to learn as much as you can about your new city or town before you even think about looking for a new home or apartment. And especially at a time when we need to stay home as much as we can, the option of going for a leisurely drive or stroll around your new neighborhood might not always be available to you once you’ve moved, and at the same time, things aren’t exactly “normal” during these times. You can still do your research once you’ve moved, but it will do you a world of good if you already know a lot about your new location. The same applies to apartment-hunting—it will be much safer for you to take virtual tours and talking to landlords online.
Consult with a reliable agent.
The value of consulting with local agents cannot be overstated, especially during the time of COVID-19. Rental agents, much like real estate agents, are a trusty resource when it comes to navigating and understanding a local market. They are trained to know a locality’s rental market from the inside out, including neighborhoods and properties to consider, and those you should avoid. You only need to communicate with your agent about the kind of property you’re looking to rent and what your budget is, and they will be able to give you a list of potential places to rent. It’s an efficient way to find a new place to live instead of narrowing down your options yourself—especially in a location you don’t know well. It will also save you from wasting time with potential rentals that won’t turn out to be a good fit.
Consider the times.
Living during a pandemic entails the following when you go apartment-hunting:
- If you won’t live alone, you need to look for a home with room for physical distancing. You never know when any of your family members or roommates might be sick with the virus and when any of you might need to self-isolate and quarantine.
- Look for a house or apartment that has a space that can double as a home office and a homework station for your kids, as well as open spaces for working out.
When it comes to looking for a new home to rent, it’s key that you see the space for its potential, not for what it is at the moment. Believe in your ability to turn a mere property into a cozy home.
Take safety precautions when touring in person.
While a virtual tour is your best bet for avoiding the virus, it’s also understandable if you don’t want to rent a space sight unseen. But if you decide to tour a potential home in person, make sure to abide by safety precautions. These include wearing a mask, sanitizing your hands frequently, keeping a six-foot distance from others, and avoiding high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and handles. Some landlords even have a system of leaving keys with on-site employees or in drop boxes, so everyone is finding ways to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Be alert about potential rental scams.
A rental scam is when a landlord misrepresents themselves or the property they own. Many ill-intentioned people might take advantage of potential tenants who are renting homes sight unseen, so you also need to be vigilant. Some warning signs include prices that are too good to be true, the “landlord” won’t give you a virtual tour, if they ask for your financial information or if they require you to wire money right away. Hiring an agent can help you avoid scams like this as well.
The Bottom Line
Apartment-hunting during a pandemic might not be the situation upon which you thought you would be starting anew, but technology can help move this process along with ease and safety. So take your time, stay safe, and research as much as you can before making big decisions.