Whether it is for social distancing purposes or if you are moving to Chicago from the other side of the world, these apartments offer virtual showings to make it possible to explore the apartment from the comfort of your sofa.

Virtual apartment tours shrink the distance between renters who may be located out of town or are trying to maintain a safe distance from crowded spaces during a health crisis such as COVID-19. Many renters are already streaming live videos from friends or influencers they follow on social media; why not think of a virtual showing as a livestream that brings renters closer to their next Chicago apartment?

How do virtual showings work for Chicago apartments? Renters should inquire about “virtual open house” hours with the landlord or broker. Then, schedule a time to have the virtual tour. Renters would be wise to come prepared with a set of questions that they may ask about the rental unit just the same as if they were touring the apartment in person. There’s no need to be shy about asking follow up questions about the age of the building, the dimensions of the unit (sometimes a smartphone screen doesn’t fully capture the space), and any day-to-day convenience factors. For the last category, renters can think of building maintenance, laundry facilities (if the apartment doesn’t have in-unit laundry), fitness centers, outdoor amenities or pet-friendly apartment policies.

Virtual tours are a potential lifesaver for landlords and brokers who need to showcase a vacant rental unit -- and that’s not hyperbole. Maintaining safety in multifamily housing during COVID-19 is a priority and with aid from convenient video chat tools, safety can still come first. Landlords can successfully demonstrate everything that renters would like to see or know about an apartment for rent with help from video conferencing apps such as FaceTime, Skype, Zoom meetings or even pre-recorded videos that can easily be shared with interested renters.

Landlords and leasing agents who are looking for tips for successful virtual showings can read our guide to conducting virtual apartment tours. Here are a few basics to keep in mind:

  1. Try to schedule virtual showings in the same fashion as in-person apartment tours: plan ahead, manage appointments with a calendar, and allow extra time to answer any questions from renters.

  2. Use natural light to your advantage while hosting a virtual tour -- showcase the apartment in its best light!

  3. Remember, go slow and steady to record everything in detail.