The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed how we usually do things. Case in point: apartment hunting!
On top of finding an apartment that you can afford, you also need to follow health protocols that the authorities and the building management set when inspecting the apartment. It can be challenging to navigate because you need to be extra cautious, more so if this is your first time looking for an apartment and in a city you’ve never lived in before at that!
Don’t fret, though. Below are some of the things to expect when apartment hunting post-COVID.
Things to expect when looking for an apartment
1) Online is a plethora of sources
Like most big-ticket purchases, you can start your apartment search online before you should come and check it out personally. This is a highly recommended approach to apartment hunting nowadays. For instance, if you are apartment hunting in Los Angeles, you may browse available rentals within your preferred neighborhood.
What’s good about these rental websites is they are highly intuitive, requiring a minimal level of experience. In addition, rental websites usually have tools and filters you can use to narrow down your searches. Some websites even allow you to bookmark or save and download the information quickly.
2) A reliable real estate agent is more than necessary
Even when you live in San Francisco Bay Area, you can have someone represent you in person when doing the hunt. The agent can stand in your place while providing relevant information, particularly the required documents such as proofs of identification, income, and insurance; credit report; and recommendation letters. The list can be exhaustive because the apartment building may have additional requirements.
An agent can also give you tips and hacks. For instance, he can tell you you cannot blow up your credit score by piling up on new furniture because it will show up on the report. In some instances, credit reports are checked and rechecked between submitting the letter of intent and moving in.
3) Up to three options are highly recommended
It is expected that people who lost their jobs when the pandemic started would relocate to cities with higher employment rates. For example, in Los Angeles, these places are Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.
The uptake of apartments in these areas is faster than usual. So it is best to prepare a shortlist of neighborhoods that you want to be a part of. Well, of course, this will depend on whether you already have a job (which is more advisable) or is yet to look for one. While at it, list down your non-negotiables. In this way, your agent will find the apartment that suits your taste.
4) An inspection must never be skipped
Your agent can do a virtual inspection via FaceTime, for instance. Nonetheless, it is essential to check the apartment physically before you move in. You should check the door and window, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, and living room. Don’t skip the safety checks as well, including the fire safety equipment, smoke detectors, and fire escape plan.
Don’t forget to check the neighborhood as well. As such, consider the commute, determining the travel time from your apartment to the workplace, transit options, and traffic dynamics, especially during rush hours. Your expectations regarding this matter will surely affect your comfort levels in a new city.
All in all, be as informed as possible when apartment hunting. Several resources can help you make the process as smooth sailing as possible. However, don’t forget your due diligence, specifically in areas where your presence is needed.