Life goes on, even in the middle of the devastating pandemic that we are experiencing right now. So, if you are looking for a new apartment, you will likely have to adapt to the new reality and adjust your behavior to stay safe during your search.

We reached out to some of the best downtown San Diego real estate agents, Neuman & Neuman to share some ideas on how you can stay safe during your apartment hunt, without losing out on too much of the convenience.

Research Things Online Beforehand

The best way to gauge the apartment is to visit it. Once you’re there, you can see whether the rooms are in order, whether the neighborhood is too loud, how the AC situation is, and a myriad of other things you can’t see in an online ad.

And if the situation were normal, we would strongly encourage you to visit every place in your price range. However, the situation is not normal – the global pandemic is a serious health risk and the best way to avoid it is by not exposing yourself to too many unknown and unnecessary risky situations.

Compile a list of all places that fit your criteria and look through the ads carefully. Rate them according to the things that are most important to you. Then pick the top 3 places and visit those three.

Virtual Tours Are Becoming Standard

Some real estate agencies and sellers/landlords actually provide video tours that you can take and see the place on video. This is better than still photos because you can better gauge the sizes of the rooms and many other things. However, it’s still not recommended that you sign anything before physically visiting the location.

These virtual tours were becoming popular with high-end real estate agencies even before the pandemic, and were particularly popular with busy people who couldn’t really spare a whole day to tour many different homes and apartments with an agent. A huge advantage of video tours is that you can watch them whenever you have the time.

With the rise of the pandemic, these tours are now becoming ubiquitous, seeing how social distancing and self-isolation are preferred. So, no matter your budget, chances are that you will find a video tour for a place that fits your parameters.

Talk to a Real Estate Agent

If you’re unable to physically visit the location, another great thing you can do it talk to a real estate agent who has actually been to that place and knows more about the place. Talking to several agents from different agencies means that you will be able to properly gauge the prices and the amenities you can expect.

The best part is that talking to real estate agents is free – they work on commission. Only once you decide to buy or rent do you need to pay them, and even then, you’re only paying one, the one you make a deal with.

Take a Live Tour Safely

Finally, when you are ready to move, it is time to go and visit the place for the last checks. Normally, by this point, you would have visited the apartment several times prior to your decision, but given the circumstances, that may not be feasible.

Still, once you go to the location and meet the real estate agent in person, make sure to adhere to all the rules like wearing a mask and keeping your distance. And insist that the agent does the same thing (although they probably will automatically). If you want to touch things like light switches, doorknobs, and other common items, wearing gloves might also be a good idea, and hand sanitizer is a must.

Getting a new apartment can be a long and difficult process at the best of times, and made even worse during the pandemic, but sticking to these simple rules, you can make it a bit easier on yourself.