Questions You Should Ask During a Virtual Property Tour
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we all normally do things, including renters looking for new homes. While live, in-person tours are the preferred way of searching, this is not possible in many parts of the country due to social distancing guidelines in place. However, even though many rental properties can’t physically be visited, we do have one thing working to our advantage — technology for a virtual property tour.
Facetime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messager and Skype are more important than ever to utilize during this time. Use one of these tools to communicate directly with landlords and property managers that have available rentals you’re interested in. They can virtually show you their properties in real-time, face-to-face, so you can still “tour” available rentals and decide on your next home.
While there are standard questions you should always ask when deciding on a rental home, which we’ve listed for you, there are additional questions you’ll need to ask when on a virtual property tour. We’ve outlined these for you below and explained why each one is important.
1. Where is the strongest cell phone reception on the property and where is the weakest?
Since you can’t test different areas yourself, you’ll need to ask the landlord or property manager. If they have the same provider that you do, even better. This will give you a clear idea of what to expect if you end up choosing that particular rental, and is especially important if you work from home.
2. In addition to showing me all the rooms, can you show me how smaller spaces in the rental look, such as the kitchen pantry and the cabinets beneath the sink?
Make sure you have the property manager or landlord show you ALL rooms and areas in the rental, including small ones like these. You’ll want to make sure everything, even small areas, are up to your standard.
3. Are there any odd smells in the home I should be aware of?
You don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised by any weird smells after you decide on a rental from a virtual property tour. Ask this upfront during your time with the landlord or property manager. And if you’re especially sensitive to a particular type of smell, be sure to let them know.
4. Is the water pressure consistent throughout all the showers and faucets in the home? How strong would you say it is?
If water pressure is important to you, you’ll want to ask this. You don’t want to get stuck living somewhere for an extended period of time with water pressure not up to your standard.
5. Can you show me the inside of the refrigerator?
Asking this will give you great insight into the kitchen’s actual size and space, as well as the condition of the refrigerator — nobody wants a refrigerator with mold in it as this will negatively affect the food inside. If you plan on sharing the space with a roommate, ask yourself: if you’re both in the kitchen at the same time, could you both move comfortably?
6. Are there any other details I can’t see through video that you should make me aware of, such as chipping paint or rotting wood?
Although it may be a bit uncomfortable to ask this question, you need to know if there’s an issue you should be aware of. Not only for aesthetic appeal — you need to know if these could lead to a larger problem down the road.
7. Can I see the outside of the property?
You’ll want to see the area surrounding the rental and get an idea of what it’s like. What do the backyard and front yard look like? Are they kept up well? Is the property in a run-down or nice part of town? What’s close-by to walk to? Are there any close walking or hiking trails?
8. Is the street the property is on loud? And how close is my nearest neighbor?
If you’re sensitive to noise, this is important to ask. You don’t want to discover you live on an extremely loud street AFTER you’ve moved into your new home. Knowing how close your nearest neighbor is also good information to have. If you like having more space and distance, you’ll want to know the answer to this before signing a lease.
In addition to the above questions, make sure to request that the virtual property tour takes place during the day — natural light makes a BIG difference, especially when viewing a property through video.
Make sure to follow up on your virtual property tour with an emailing thanking the landlord or property manager for their time. We recommend asking any questions you may have forgotten and requesting a floor plan outlining the exact dimensions of the property so you can ensure your furniture will fit in each room. This is a great time to also ask for an online application if you’re interested in applying.
We wish you the best on your hunt for your next rental home and hope you’re staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.