5 Questions to Ask During a Virtual Apartment Tour
These days, touring an apartment virtually is a popular method of scoping out an enticing property. Aside from offering safety and convenience, it can also be a huge time saver for both the landlord and the prospective tenant and making renting possible for those who can’t make in-person showings.
But what are the questions you should ask during your virtual tour? In person, you can check on the tiny details that can make or break an apartment, like water pressure or the condition of the permanent appliances. Virtual apartment tours don’t give you that option, so it’s important to get as much information as possible from the leasing agent while you have them on the line.
From questions about paying rent to inquiries about amenities, here’s everything you should ask when on your virtual apartment tour, including:
- Preparing for your virtual tour
- Five questions you should ask during a virtual tour
- Other tips to make the most of your tour
Let’s get started!
Preparing for your virtual tour
A virtual tour can provide you with a fairly effective way of assessing an apartment’s qualities. Still photographs or virtual Matterport 3D tours are a great starting point, but a live virtual tour lets you experience the apartment in real-time.
Request a tour via a video chat service like FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. The real estate agent can take you through the apartment so that you can get a sense of the property and answers to your questions.
Five questions you should ask during a virtual apartment tour
Once you’ve scheduled your video tour, take some time to think of the things that are most important to you in a living space. Maybe you want something roomy with lots of storage. Maybe you’re okay with something cozy, so long as it gets good light. Whatever your must-haves (and can’t-haves) are, know them in advance.
Aside from your personal preferences, here are the most important questions prospective renters should ask during a virtual tour:
1. What is the condition of the appliances?
Few things are as likely to ruin your experience of your new home as discovering that the appliances don’t work properly. A shower with barely-there water pressure or an oven with off-kilter temperatures are minor problems that pose major inconveniences.
The good news is, getting stuck with faulty appliances is avoidable. During your video tour, ask your guide to check:
- The water pressure: Nothing’s more frustrating than trying to get clean under a slow trickle of water. Ask the leasing agent to test all the faucets in the apartment, including in the kitchen and bathroom, so that you can see the quality of the water pressure for yourself.
- The oven: During your tour, you’ll want to have the real estate agent verify that the oven works properly. Have them test the stovetop burners and show you the inside of the oven so you can check that it’s clean.
- The refrigerator: Although you won’t be able to tell much about the refrigerator’s working condition, you’ll at least be able to get a sense of how clean it is.
- The lighting: Bulbs bust and need to be replaced, but sometimes, malfunctioning light can be a sign of larger electrical issues. Have your landlord test the lights throughout the apartment so that you know they’re working properly.
2. What is the condition of the apartment?
Just as important as making sure the appliances in your new apartment are in good working order is making sure the apartment itself is functional. Use your virtual tour as an opportunity to look into things that can be difficult to impossible to discern from photographs, such as:
- The doors: You’ll want to be sure that all the doors in your apartment work properly. Don’t hesitate to have the leasing agent open and close all the doors, from the front door to the bathroom and the bedroom. You should have them test the locks as well.
- The windows: Ask the leasing agent to demonstrate that all the windows in your apartment are in working order.
- Spacial concerns: Determining the scale of an apartment and its floor plan can be difficult even on a virtual tour, but you want to make sure the apartment has all the space you need. Ask for specific measurements or even a blueprint. Ask the agent to do things like open the oven or the cabinet doors to give you a better sense of scale.
3. Are there any cosmetic concerns?
For many prospective residents, the look of an apartment is one of the biggest factors they’ll take into account when deciding whether or not to sign a lease. But even if you’re not so concerned with aesthetics, you want to make sure your apartment meets certain cosmetic standards, such as:
- Cleanliness: Fortunately, a virtual tour should give you a pretty good sense of how clean the apartment is. If you notice dirt, dust, grime, or other signs that the apartment could use a scrub, be sure to mention it to the leasing agent.
- Floors and/or carpets: Floors and carpets are subject to a lot of wear and tear, especially in rental properties. They can be easy to miss if you’re moving through a room at eye level, so be sure to have the agent position the camera in such a way that allows you to check for damage like stains, shredding, or other issues.
- Walls and permanent fixtures: Have the leasing agent show you the walls and permanent fixtures of the apartment, like countertops, cabinets, and door frames. You’ll want to check for things like signs of water damage, broken or malfunctioning doors and drawers, and structural damage.
- Exterior: Don’t forget to have the agent show you the exterior of the apartment. You’ll be able to gauge the condition of the building and get information on things like building security and mail delivery.
Many cosmetic issues can be easily fixed prior to your move-in, so be sure to ask your landlord to address these issues before you sign your lease.
4. What amenities are included in the lease?
Certain amenities can boost a property’s desirability considerably. Before you start looking, figure out what amenities are important to you. Many apartment communities offer a range of high-end amenities to their residents, such as:
- Laundry facilities: Be sure to ask the leasing agent about the apartment’s laundry facilities. If the apartment offers in-building or in-unit laundry facilities, have the agent show them to you.
- Storage options: Have the agent show you available storage options, such as in-unit closets and cabinets and any in-building options. Getting a copy of the floor plan can also help you get a sense of what’s available.
- Fitness, recreational, and common areas: Many apartments offer onsite fitness centers, swimming pools, and other recreational options for tenants. They may also offer common spaces for use, like clubhouses or game rooms. The agent can show you these as well.
5. How do utility services function?
In some cases, property managers will include the cost of utilities like gas and electricity in the rent charged. In other cases, you might be responsible for setting up those services and paying for them yourself. The leasing agent should know:
- Which utilities are the landlord’s responsibility and which are the tenant’s
- The estimated cost per month of utilities for the apartment
- Which companies provide utility services in the area
You can also ask about the quality of cell phone service in the apartment and which companies provide phone, internet, and cable services in the area.
Other tips to make the most of your virtual tour
Sometimes, renters will scope out a property virtually to see if checking it out in person is worth it. But for some renters, a virtual tour is the only option. That’s a lot of pressure! Here are some additional tips for making the most of your virtual tour:
- Don’t be shy: It might feel awkward to ask so much of the leasing agent. But remember that the apartment tour is your opportunity to get as much information as possible so that you can make the best decision for yourself. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the opportunity, even if it seems annoying, inconvenient, or silly.
- Document your tour: Depending on your device, you can record your tour so that you can review it later for anything you might have missed. You can also ask the leasing agent to send you more photos or take screenshots of the tour as it happens.
- Ask technical questions: Be sure to get answers for all those logistics questions, like:
- What is the process for paying rent?
- What are the security and safety measures in the building?
- What is the parking situation?
- Can I make changes to the apartment?
- What is the floor plan of the space?
Landing: A home when you need it
Increasingly, virtual apartment tours are the preferred option of landlords and tenants alike. Knowing what to ask and what to look out for can keep you from getting roped into a lease on an apartment that isn’t quite right for you.
Then again, you can eliminate that risk altogether by making Landing your go-to resource for all your rental needs. Our Landing network is full of great furnished apartments in cities from coast to coast, and everywhere in between—all with flexible leasing options. Our website makes it easy to apply, and just as easy to find a Landing you love. Browse our available apartments today!