If you’re one of those people who never have time outside their job but need to find a new home, you need to be fully equipped with tips on how to rent sight unseen. Or, you might have plenty of time, but you’re moving into a new apartment that’s still under construction. Either way, there’s an immense leap of faith involved, especially since there are many possible scenarios.
For example, when you move into the property, you might find issues, such as the windows don’t open all the way, the doors having cracks or scratches, the ceiling being too low, etc. Although you can’t avoid these unpleasant surprises entirely, there are some things you can do beforehand to ensure you move into your future home without any regrets.
What Does Renting Sight Unseen Mean?
As its name suggests, when you’re on a hunt to find a new home, but you’re agreeing to sign a lease without visiting, that means you’re renting sight unseen. For many people, this is a daunting and dangerous step to take because you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.
However, online tours are becoming more popular because they’re an easier and faster way of checking out a property, rather than having to schedule a tour. That said, a study by Zumper and Matterport showed that over 70 percent of people said they would rent digitally.
Additionally, real estate brokers have also mentioned that many renters are becoming open to renting sight unseen, mainly because they’re moving out of state and they have more time to look through listings, without any time constraints.
Despite being a faster method of renting a house, online hunting also has its downfalls. Some of these issues can go beyond typical minor varieties. For example, you might rent the place and everything seems perfect the first day, until later you discover your area is the local drunks’ favorite place to be, the shops downstairs make the building smell, or there’s rarely any hot water.
All of these issues aren’t seen or mentioned in digital tours. While photos can tell some of the story, you only get to see what the landlords want to put out.
Tips to Take When Renting Sight Unseen
If you’re still keen on finding a home sight unseen, consider all the benefits and drawbacks of this method. Even if your circumstances require you to do so, you can still follow these five tips and ensure you find the secure house you’ve dreamed of.
Do Your Research
The number one tip you should always follow is to find as much information as you can about a potential property. Not only will this make you feel as if you’re virtually there, but it will also help you narrow down your options to only the best ones.
First, you can create a spreadsheet to list down the place you’re interested in to get in touch with landlords. Once you get their contact information, it’s time to explore the area on Google Maps. Ensure to find your neighborhood and drag through the streets to identify the nearest stores and amenities.
Don’t forget to ask landlords about floor plans or a video tour to give you the best perspective on all the details. It’ll also allow you to have a closer look at the small nooks and corners.
If possible, try to get in contact with your potential neighbors and ask them about what it’s like living in that area. Essentially, discovering the pros and cons of your rental options allow you to make a better decision.
If there’s one thing you need to embrace during your online hunt is technology. With so many platforms online, you can use them to your advantage by applying online and getting a closer look at the properties.
One of these platforms is Rentberry – an online rental app that allows you to have a virtual tour and also sign the lease digitally. Or, you could also use Google Meet, FaceTime, or Zoom to set up a walk-through video.
Also, the U.S. online apartment rental services industry is currently $629.5 million, hence why people are using these tools to facilitate their search.
Consider a Short-Term Lease
If you’re uncertain about your home but still want to rent it, then a short-term lease may save you from a long nightmare. Although these types of leases tend to be more expensive, they’re the best alternative because you can get opt-out anytime you don’t feel comfortable. However, if you think you’ve made the right decision, you switch to a longer lease after a while.
Avoid Rental Scams
Renting sight unseen is already a bold step, so why risk your chances of encountering scammers online? That’s why protecting yourself from fraud is one of the top tips and skills you should learn during your online search.
One of the most common scams they use is putting out a property they don’t own and claiming it as theirs. Then, they collect your security deposit money and disappear.
To avoid this, it’s advisable to work with an experienced real estate agent who’s familiar with legitimate landlords and companies. They’ll help find ownership proof of the rental property you’re interested in, while you stay away from scammers.
Pay by Check
Even if you find your dream home and everything seems perfect, you should still be cautious about the payment method. Initially, it’s best to send a check with the minimum amount to keep the property. Then you can pay the rest of the money after you meet in person with the landlord.
In case a landlord asks you to send a money order, stop everything you’re doing and walk away. These payment methods are common to scammers, especially if they tell you to wire money through transfer stores because anyone with a fake ID can take advantage of you.
We hope you found this blog post on 5 Tips on How to Rent Your Future Home Sight Unseen useful. Be sure to check out our post on Moving Out of State? Must Know Tips on Renting Sight Unseen for more great tips!
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