Apartment hunting has become trickier since the start of the pandemic -- with virtual apartment tours becoming a necessary (and fun) part of the process.

During a virtual apartment tour, you always want to make sure that the apartment not only fits your lifestyle, but also provides you with everything you need to live comfortably and securely. Some things that may not be obvious during a virtual apartment tour are the safety features and building amenities that are vital to your wellness and comfort. 

Read this blog for some virtual apartment tour tips to save yourself time, and be certain that the apartment is right for you… even from afar.

Virtual Apartment Tours Are The Future

Maybe you’re moving to a new city, following proper safety measures, or maybe you’re just busy and don’t have time to trek  around the city looking at apartments. If you can’t be there in person, don’t sweat it. You can always tour the rental property virtually. A virtual apartment tour enables you to see a 360-view of a property through a computer, tablet, or phone. It’s not the same as a video uploaded by a property manager or real estate agent as it is more interactive and allows the user to guide the tour as they would during an in-person viewing. Virtual apartment tours are convenient, but require you to be extra vigilant when hunting for a new home.

Tips to make the most of a virtual apartment tour

Take a 3D apartment tour 

Before you have a chance to see an apartment with your realtor, whether via video app or in person, you can get a good understanding of what the apartment looks like through a 3D tour. Not all apartments offer 3D tours, but if the apartment you are looking at does, make sure you take advantage of this really useful tool. The 3D tour will offer you 3 modes to view the apartment. 

  1. 3D space mode will be the first mode you are usually popped into. This will look like a 3D walk through the apartment. You can use the arrows on the floor to navigate through the rooms and click your mouse around to get a 360 degree view. You can get into this mode by clicking on the icon of the person. 

  2. Floorplan/dollhouse mode will give you an idea of how the rooms all connect to each other. You can toggle between floorplan and dollhouse by clicking the icon that looks like a tetris cube. Floorplan mode will give you a birds eye view, while dollhouse will give you more of a side angle. 

  3. Measurement mode will let you measure any space that you’re interested in. It’s great for figuring out if you can fit your shoe rack will fit into that small alcove by the front entrance or if you can fit your dresser in the space between the wall and and the window. . To enter measurement mode, click on the ruler icon.

Ask a lot of questions

Don’t be weary of asking a lot of questions! That’s literally what you are paying your broker for. It doesn’t matter whether it's a virtual tour of a studio apartment or three bedroom apartment.

  • Ask for a clear view. Don’t let your realtor get away with blurry or confusing photos and videos 

  • Ask to open all doors. Ask your realtor to open and let you see all the closet and storage space. Don’t be afraid to ask them to open the fridge, cabinets, or anything else you would normally open on your own. 

  • Ask to look out the window. Just because you can’t be there in person, doesn’t mean your realtor can’t get you an understanding of what your view will be like.

  • Look for plugs and cable attachments. This is a tricky one that most realtors miss 

  • Look up! Ask your realtor to show you the ceiling. Get an idea for how tall it is and what lighting fixtures are available. 

  • Ask for the safety features. Make sure your apartment is safe and up to code.

  • Turn on the shower and the faucets, and flush the toilet. Make sure everything is in working order.  

Image of woman gesturing and talking in a virtual conversation with a broker on her computer. It reads, "Ask a Lot of Questions. Make sure you ask to see the parts (and perks) of the apartment that aren

Work with a reputable property management company

Make sure your property management company has a website. You can also cross-check them with the Department of State’s website to make sure they are up to date on all of their licenses. 

Walk the neighborhood

Don’t just tour the apartment, tour the neighborhood. Not only do you need an understanding of what your commute could be, but you’ll also need to know how the neighborhood feels to you. While checking out the area, be sure to ask  yourself of following questions

  • Make sure there are comfortable transportation options, whether that means parking spots or easy access to public transportation. 

  • Do you like the neighborhood? Will you want to spend time hanging out here?

  • Are you going to feel safe walking there at night? 

  • Is there a good place to grab a bite or some coffee?

Graphic including two photos showing the outside of an apartment building and a tree-lined street.

Check out our apartment checklists:

Make sure to check out our extensive apartment checklist, where we help you find the perfect apartment through a list of questions and things to look out for. 

After a virtual tour, see the place in person

We recommend that you try to see your future apartment in person before moving in just to confirm everything is to your liking. But if that’s not possible, then you can snag a new place "site unseen" so long as you're diligent in your research.

One final question to ask on your virtual apartment tour? Whether or not the landlord offers Rhino! Moving with Rhino and using security deposit insurance will help you save money so you can spend more on your new apartment and less on your security deposit. Get a quote today.

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KT Heins-Nagamoto

KT Heins-Nagamoto is a senior brand writer at Rhino. They advocate for security deposit alternatives and renter rights in everything they write.