If you are moving to a new city or if you just don't like the hassle of visiting apartment after apartment in person before you relocate, you can rent an apartment online. This is easier than ever, with landlords and real estate managers posting photos and videos of apartments online along with floor plans and prices. When you rent an apartment online, you should follow certain procedures.
Make a list of everything you want in a new apartment. Write down the locations you are willing to consider, the amount you want to spend, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you are looking for and whether you want appliances like a washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher and air conditioner. Decide how much space you need, whether the apartment has carpeting or hardwood flooring and whether you want a balcony or deck. Writing down your requirements helps you narrow your search before you go online.
Browse the available apartments that may meet some or all of your qualifications from Step 1 and create a written list of your options. Go online to search for apartments in your designated areas. Look at websites such as Tenant Plus, ForRent.com and Archstone (see Resources), which may list multiple apartments in the areas where you are looking and can help guide your search. Write down the names and locations of the apartments you are interested in.
Visit the websites of the apartment complexes and rental management companies you want to investigate more closely. View any photos, videos and floor plans of the apartments. Check whether the apartments match your needs for the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, appliances, rental amount and other requirements. Find the three or four apartments that most closely match your needs. Circle them on your list.
Talk with the landlords of the apartments that you are most interested in renting. Email or call them to discuss the particulars of renting their apartments. Decide which apartment you are most interested in renting and ask the apartment manager to send you a rental application by email.
Fill out the online rental application of the apartment you are most interested in and either email it to the apartment leasing officer or submit it on the website. On the online form, provide your credit card or bank checking account routing number and account number to secure your application fee and security deposit. Provide personal information to the leasing officer, like your date of birth, Social Security number, phone number, current address and rental history. The leasing officer may conduct a background and credit check to approve you for the lease. Either check a box on the online form giving him permission to conduct such checks or write an email saying you give your approval.
Wait for email acknowledgment that you have been approved for the apartment. If you haven't already done so, pay your security deposit and first month's rent by providing the apartment leasing officer with your credit card number or checking account and routing numbers.