Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment sight unseen has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially with the rise of remote work, migration, online listings, and virtual tours. This process involves renting an apartment without physically seeing it in person or visiting it first, solely relying on pictures, videos, and other online resources to decide. 

While it may seem daunting to rent an apartment sight unseen, there are many reasons why someone might choose to do so, such as a relocation or limited time to search for housing. However, taking the necessary steps to ensure a successful outcome is important. 

This guide will provide tips on renting an apartment sight unseen and the necessary steps to ensure a successful rental experience and make an informed decision.

Create a List of Must-Haves

It’s important to know what it is that you are looking for before starting the search. The list will help you narrow down the type of apartments that may come up in your search. It will also save you a ton of time when communicating with property management companies and landlords about the specific features that you must have. 

Conduct Thorough Research Online

Try to do as much research as you can online. When researching apartments online, there are a few key factors to consider before making a decision. Some factors to consider include: 

  • Location is an important factor, as it can determine access to public transportation, proximity to local amenities (restaurants, shopping centers, etc.), and even the crime rate in the area. Verify if the address listed on the website matches the actual address of the property they are considering renting. This can easily be done by visiting Google Maps or another mapping service and double-checking the address provided by the website against what is listed in public records.
  • Amenities should also be considered. The apartment may offer features such as in-unit laundry, parking spots or garages, or a fitness center on-site. 
  • The price of the rental should also be taken into account when comparing different listings. It’s helpful to filter search results by only selecting those that are pertinent to your needs and preferences. For example, you could narrow down the list by setting budget limits for rent costs and including desired amenities within your search parameters. 
  • Photos – Since you cannot see the space, you will have to rely heavily on photos to truly understand the layout and the setup of the space. Depending on what you are looking for, through the photos, you can see if it has a cozy living room, an updated bathroom, a modern kitchen, and a white-washed fireplace. When interpreting listing photos and descriptions of apartments online, it’s important to remember that these may be somewhat limited or staged versions of what’s available at a property. 

Find Reviews

Reading reviews can give you an idea of any hidden concerns not visible through pictures or descriptions, such as noise levels, plumbing issues, etc. Reviews from past tenants can provide insight into how well-managed the property is, how responsive management is to tenant requests or concerns, and if any problems have occurred previously that will affect your comfort level with renting sight unseen.

Reviews can also serve as “references” from previous tenants. A positive review from a former tenant should give prospective renters more confidence in their decision to rent an apartment sight unseen.

Communicate with Property Managers or Landlords

Make sure you reach out to the property manager or landlord when renting an apartment sight unseen in order to ensure that the rental unit meets your requirements and expectations. 

You can always reach out via phone, email or online contact form to get additional information. Most property managers and landlords are usually receptive to this and are willing to answer questions. If they are not, then it raises a red flag.  

During communication, it is important to ask detailed questions about the amenities of the apartment, such as whether the unit has air conditioning and heating, kitchen appliances including refrigerator, stove and dishwasher; security features such as locks on doors; pet policies; noise levels; laundry facilities; parking availability; public transportation access; garbage disposal services and cost of utilities. 

You should also ask about the duration of the lease agreement and move-in/move-out procedures and get clarification on any paperwork or contracts that need to be signed. If fees or deposits are associated with the rental agreement, ensure you understand what those cover and how much they will cost.

By taking time to consider these factors when communicating with a property manager prior to signing a rental agreement, you can reduce your chances of having an unpleasant rental experience.

Schedule Virtual Apartment Tours

Schedule a live video tour of the apartment if possible. This can help you get a better feel for the space without physically being there in person. Several types of virtual apartment tours are available to help renters assess a potential property without being physically present. Video tours are the most common, allowing prospective tenants to watch a pre-recorded tour of the unit. 

3D tours offer an immersive virtual experience that can closely replicate a physical visit, while live virtual tours provide an interactive real-time connection with a representative from the property.

When taking part in a virtual apartment tour, make sure to ask lots of questions and take notes while viewing: Jot down your impressions while viewing the virtual tour to remember what stood out to you and to compare different properties later on.

Paperwork and Lease

When renting an apartment sight unseen, it is important to ensure that all paperwork and contracts are in order before signing. The documents associated with the rental agreement should include a rental application, proof of income, identification, and a lease agreement. 

First, make sure to thoroughly read the lease before signing it. Ensure that all the details of your agreement are included in the contract and that there are no hidden fees or clauses that could cause problems down the road. Be sure to review all addendums, amendments, and riders as well. Pay close attention to any disclaimers about repairs or maintenance responsibilities, as these may become important later.

Understand the terms of the lease agreement before signing it remotely. Read through every section carefully to make sure you understand what rights you have as a tenant, what obligations you must meet, rules regarding rent payment, and any applicable notice periods for terminating or extending the lease term. 

Additionally, familiarise yourself with any local landlord-tenant laws so that you know your rights under local law. Secure the renter’s insurance to help you protect yourself if anything happens while living in your new unit such as theft or damage due to fire or other disasters not covered by landlord insurance policies.

Making Payment

When renting an apartment sight unseen, there are several payment options available. These include online payments through a secure platform, electronic checks, prepaid debit cards, direct bank transfers, wire transfers, and money orders. Before making any rental payments remotely, taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself from scams and fraud is important. 

Make sure the rental agency is reputable and trustworthy by conducting research online and reading reviews or testimonials from previous customers. Additionally, confirm the identity of the person or company you are sending money to and only send payments through secure platforms that provide encryption technology for extra security. 

It is also recommended to use credit cards rather than debit cards when possible as they offer greater fraud protection if something were to go wrong with the transaction. Finally, keep all your records of financial transactions stored in a safe place and remember to always review the terms and conditions of any rental agreement before making any payments.


Renting an apartment sight unseen can be a daunting task, but with the right amount of research and preparation, it can be done successfully. It is important to take the time to research the area, the neighbourhood, local laws, and the landlord or property manager’s reputation in order to make an informed decision.

Additionally, it is important to review all documents thoroughly and ask questions before signing any leases or agreements. By taking these steps and being mindful of potential risks, renting an apartment sight unseen can be a positive experience for both tenant and landlord.

We hope you found this blog post on Moving out of State? A Complete Guide on Renting an Apartment Sight Unseen useful. Be sure to check out our post on Choosing The Best Apartment Rental for more great tips!

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