Online rental platforms and virtual home tours have minimized the need to view a property in person before renting. Especially for digital nomads, it's not possible or practical to view a rental property in advance.
However, in some cases it's necessary or preferred to tour an apartment before moving in, especially when it comes mid-term rentals or long-term rentals.
- Appointment in advance
- Dress appropriately
- Bring your roommates
- Get ready
- Arrive on time
- Respect the rules
- Avoid touching objects
- Negotiate the price
- Keep it short
- Follow-up message
This is where the etiquette guide for apartment viewings comes into play. It's a set of guidelines that you should follow when you are looking for a new apartment as it's important to be respectful and courteous to the landlord, the property manager, and people who may be living in the property.
This apartment viewing etiquette guide will show you how to behave at a viewing to stay polite and respectful and avoid potential embarrassment.
However, the following rules are meant to be taken as suggestions and should not be considered absolute. Some of these guidelines are also applicable in other types of apartment viewings and may vary depending on the situation.
1 - Make an appointment for a visit in advance
This may sound obvious, but many don't know that in some countries landlords are required by law to give tenants at least 48 hours notice.
So if there are such laws in place in the location where you're looking for a rental property, you need to take that into account. Even if there are no such rules, it's only polite to schedule a visit in advance.
2 - Dress appropriately
Although there's no strict dress code, it's important that you're neat, polite, and appropriately dressed when you go to the apartment viewing.
3 - Bring your roommates
If you plan to move in with roommates, you should bring them with you when you visit an apartment. It's only polite if you do, because they probably have the same expectations as you and aren't likely to appreciate being excluded.
It's also advisable to inform the landlord or the agent in advance if you want to bring someone along. It's not a major issue, but you'd come off as a considerate, respectful tenant if you do so.
4 - Keep your questions ready
Almost all the information you need to know about a rental property is included in the online listing description.
However, there are still questions, the answers to which can help you make an informed decision, such as:
- Is there a parking lot near the property?
- Why is the previous tenant moving?
- How old is the building?
- What's the neighborhood like?
- What items come with the property?
- How fast is the Internet speed?
- What's the water pressure like?
- Who lives next door?
- Can I decorate?
- How old—and how efficient—is the heating and cooling system?
- Can you fix this door handle that seems to be broken?
- What is the nightlife like in the area?
5 - Arrive on time
This is an important advice for conducting an apartment viewing. Make sure you arrive on time for the viewing. This way you show that you respect the landlord or agent's time. If you're going to be late for whatever reason, inform the person showing you the apartment and apologize.
6 - Bring a copy of your documents with you
Trust plays a key role when dealing with landlords and agents, and one way to build it is to bring a copy of your most important documents such as ID, passport, employment contract, bank statement, etc.
7 - Respect the rules of the house
This advice is especially important if there's already a tenant living in the house. Remember that it's "their" house and not yet yours.
So, for example, if they ask you to leave your umbrella at the entrance or take off your shoes, you should comply with their request.
8 - Avoid touching objects in the house
When viewing an apartment, it's not respectful to touch the items in the house. Simply put, don't touch anything you wouldn't expect a guest to touch in your own apartment. Whether or not the tenant, landlord, or agent is present at the viewing, the same rules apply.
Even better is to ask the person showing you the room to open doors or windows, open the closet, open the curtain, turn on the light, etc. Also, it's good to ask for permission before you take photos of the property, whether indoors or out.
9 - Negotiate the price politely
It's recommended that you ask the landlord or agent if the rental price is negotiable or not. If you see that they're flexible, negotiate the price in a respectful manner.
10 - Keep it short
You have, of course, the full right to fully inspect the unit during the visit and ask as many questions as you wish to confirm that the property and area are right for you.
Don't stay too long, though. Visiting an apartment shouldn't take no longer than 30 minutes. If you have more questions, you can ask them later via text message or email.
11 - Send a follow-up message
Apartment viewing etiquette also applies when you leave the building. It would be polite to send a message to the landlord or agent thanking them for the apartment tour and letting them know you'll inform them of your decision within 24 or maximum 48 hours.
Then take time to weigh the pros and cons of the property. Even if you decide not to rent it, it's appropriate to let the landlord or agent know.