Can You Rent A Property Without Actually Viewing It?

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Many people are looking to rent a property. They want to know if they can rent a property without viewing it. Maybe the property is much further away from where they live, or they don’t have the time to go through a viewing.

You can rent a property without seeing or viewing it first. The landlord may even rent it to you without having seen you and without you having seen the property. But it is not what we recommend that you do, especially for a long-term rental.

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Renting Short-Term Rental Properties Without Viewing

If you rent a short-term property, such as an Airbnb, you can probably rent it without viewing it. You can go to the website, view the photos of the property, and then read reviews that others have left for the property.

I have done this personally myself several times. Some of the properties I have rented turned out to be better than what it said on the website. Other times the properties ended up being much worse than what was said on the website.

Beware Of Real Estate Scams

One of the reasons you should view the property is that you need to beware of real estate scams. There is a real estate scam where the owners of some questionable websites may set up fake email accounts and post great reviews of their property, leading you to believe that everyone who has previously rented was happy with the property.

Some scams will even try to rent a property they do not own or have the right to rent.

I once rented a small boutique hotel in Hoi An, Vietnam. The reviews online were glowing about the hotel, but when we arrived, it was not a very good hotel.

Then I saw one of the hotel property owners online posting glowing reviews about the hotel from their computer in the small hotel lobby; the glowing reviews came from the hotel, not anyone staying there.

If you rent a property short-term, you are not stuck with the property over a long-term contract, but if you sign a long-term contract, you can be struck there for a long time.

Renting a property short-term without viewing it is not as risky as renting a long-term property and not viewing it.

Reasons Why You Should Always View A Longterm Property Before You Buy Or Rent It

Some people rent and even buy properties without having ever viewed the property. They may view the property online and then decide to rent or buy it from the online photos.

I had a niece who bought a house in Arizona without viewing the property in person; it is not something we recommend, and here are our reasons.

Space Can Look Very Different Online Than In Person

No matter how great the Internet may be these days, and even features like augmented reality (AR) will never feel the same unless you go in and view the property in person. There are just so many things that you will see in person that you may not see online.

For one thing, space can seem very different in person than online or through photos. I know that when viewing a property, I need to go there to see, feel, and understand what the space is and how it looks.

Space can also look very different if it’s empty. When it’s empty, it may look to be quite large. But when you put furniture and other things in it, it can suddenly become tiny. That is why you need to see your property in person and one that is not empty but has some furniture.

You Need To See The Property Condition And Area In Person

Today, with the era of Photoshop and other ways that people can make a space or a property look great online, it is essential that you view and see the property in person.

Here are some things you can only see in person if you go to visit the property:

A Good Landlord May Insist To See You In Person

A good landlord wants to see and meet you in person. You can get a lot of feeling about a person by meeting them in person, which you cannot do online.

It Is Not Easy To Get Out Of A Rental Agreement

When you sign a contract for a rental, you and the landlord both have certain obligations and responsibilities. The landlord must rent the property once you sign the rental agreement and pay some money.

It is not easy to get out of a rental agreement. There are only a few ways that they can get you out of a tenancy agreement. To learn more about the ways, read our blog How Do You Remove Someone From A Tenancy Agreement? by clicking here.

A Good Landlord Will Vet The Tenants

A good landlord will invariably do some of the following before they rent a property to anyone:

As a renter, you should do the same thing and know who you are renting from. You should also know that the landlord is the owner and has the legal rights to rent the property.

A rental contract is legally binding if you want to know who you are renting from, and the landlord also wants to know who they are renting to. It just helps if you could see each other face-to-face, discuss things, and get to know each other.

During your face-to-face discussion, you can ask about the rental property, any specific rules and regulations, and any other things you feel the rental property may need or questions you have.

You Want To Be Sure The Rental Is Not A Scam

If you view the property in person and talk to the landlord or property manager, you can be sure you are not involved in some scam. There can be a common scam on site, such as Craigslist or other rental websites, where a scammer may show an ad with pictures and wording that replicate an exact or almost exact rental property ad.

A scammer significantly lowers the rent in a case like this, making it a fantastic bargain – something too good to pass up. They will also change the contact information so the applicant can contact them directly.

You signed a contract with them; they show you a fake apartment or rental property and may even send you a fake key. You pay them the money, and when you get to the place you rented, you discover that the contract and key are invalid.

Usually, when something like this or this type of scam is going on, the scammer may even tell you – look, if you don’t make the deal today – there is somebody else who wants to rent this place, then we’re going to have to rent it to them. You get rushed and have never seen the property, but you decide it is too great a deal to pass up.

In a scam like this, the scammer will sign a contract with you, take your money, hand you a key, and give you an address, everything you supposedly need to get into the building. Then, when you try to get in there, you discover you have no right to enter and never rent the property.

You will soon discover that the phone number they gave you no longer works, and you cannot reach them. The scammer has completely disappeared and has now taken on a new identity to scam the next person.

The truth is, if the deal is t a good deal to pass up, it probably is, and if someone is trying to rush you to sign a contract without you seeing the property, there is probably a reason why they are doing that.

Calculated Risks Of Renting A Property Without Seeing It

If, even after all this, you still want to rent a property without seeing it, you need to understand that there will be risks involved. The Internet is full of stories of people who have rented a property and showed up with a moving van full of furniture, only to discover that the key doesn’t work or the house is already occupied.

The Internet is also full of people renting a property online only to discover that what they were renting was not precisely what they thought they were. This once happened to me with an Airbnb that I rented. The owner was not honest in their advertising; I would have to walk through the family’s home, which was filled with toys, and share a toilet with the family and three children.

In this case, I told them I was leaving, contacted Airbnb, explained the situation, and got my money back due to the false advertising.

But I realize that not everyone is so lucky and that many people end up renting properties that they think they are renting, which is not exactly what they think it is. That is why, if you can, you should always view the property in person so you know exactly what you are renting.

We recommend that, if you can, you see a property in person before renting it. If you can not, you need to do your research and due diligence to ensure it is not a scam and fully understand the area, safety, and other concerns about the property you rent.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to rent a property without seeing or viewing it first?

Yes, it is possible to rent a property without seeing or viewing it first. However, it is generally not recommended, especially for long-term rentals.

Why is it not recommended to rent a property without viewing it first?

Renting a property without viewing it first can be risky because you may not be aware of its actual condition, layout, neighborhood, or potential issues. Viewing the property allows you to assess its suitability and make an informed decision.

What are the potential risks of renting a property without viewing it first?

Some potential risks include discovering unexpected property defects or damage, finding the property doesn’t meet your needs or preferences, facing safety or security concerns, or ending up in an undesirable neighborhood.

Can a landlord rent a property without seeing the tenant?

Yes, a landlord can rent a property without physically seeing the tenant, particularly if the rental process is conducted remotely or through an agent. However, the landlord may still request information, conduct background checks, or require documentation to verify the tenant’s suitability.

Can a lease agreement protect tenants who rent a property without viewing it first?

A lease agreement can offer legal protection and outline the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords. However, it may not provide adequate protection if there are undisclosed issues or significant differences from what was represented.

Are there situations where renting without viewing is more common or acceptable?

Renting without viewing may be more common or acceptable in temporary or short-term rental situations, such as vacation rentals or subletting arrangements. However, it is still recommended to gather as much information as possible before committing.

How can one ensure the reliability and legitimacy of a property when renting remotely?

When renting remotely, it is important to conduct thorough research on the property, landlord, and any involved intermediaries. Requesting references, reading reviews, and verifying the legitimacy of the rental agreement and payment methods can help ensure reliability.

What are the advantages of personally viewing a property before renting it?

Personally viewing a property allows you to assess its condition, size, layout, amenities, and neighborhood. It helps you make an informed decision, ensure the property meets your needs, and address any concerns or questions directly with the landlord or agent.

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Anita Hummel
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