Why to Always Tour a Home Before Renting


They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is true, but choosing a home takes more than just one picture. Usually, it talks about a dozen photos forming a virtual walkthrough just to start considering a house. After all, you want to know what it looks like inside, and those photos are priceless. They show you outlets, the kitchen appliances, the general size and shape of the rooms. They show you the quality of the yard, the size of the windows, and where the doors are. But there's also a lot you can't see in a simple photo tour - especially if the photographer was not a virtual-tour pro.

Landlords and property managers often ask you to tour a home before they consider your rental application. This isn't just a local thing, it's common all over the country, and beyond, and for very good reasons. Whether you come in person or take a full 3D virtual walkthrough of the house, we're here to talk about why touring a home is so important before you sign a lease - even in the age of conducting everything no-contact and remotely.

1) You Might Instantly Love or Hate It

Have you ever just walked into a house and fell in love? Every property manager hopes to see that when a potential tenant takes their first tour. It's a good sign that you'll be a happy tenant in the year(s) to come. But have you ever experienced the opposite, and walked into a home that you immediately disliked? It's happened to us all a few times, whether it was house-hunting or visiting another's home.

These immediate reactions are instinct, a combination of look, feel, style, and even smell. You don't want to quick-sign a lease online only to walk in with moving boxes and discover that you instantly hate it. Just like you don't want to pass up on a great house that you love more than all the others the moment that you tour.

2) Get a Realistic Sense of the Size

Photos of a home try to show you the space, but it can be hard to get a real feel for how big each room is - or how that space flows together from room to room. If the photographer doesn't get two angles of every room, you may not even know the floor plan before sending in your application. Walking through the home in-person or with a real 3D tour allows you to truly feel the space - whether rooms are big or small, and how those rooms lead together. Along with how you feel about that space as a potential resident.

3) See What the Photos Don't Capture

There are always details that the photographer missed. There are nooks and crannies, insides of closets, the full layout of the bathrooms, and so on. Not to mention that non-photogenic parts of the house are often vital (like the utility closet).  When you walk through, you see what the photographer didn't think to or didn't want to snap. In-person walkthroughs are even better because you can peer behind doors and into spaces the 3D camera also didn't go.

4) Walk the Flow and Imagine Your Family Lifestyle

Photos often don't give you a full sense of living in the house, either. A walkthrough allows you to look, explore, and possibly touch and smell what it would like to live there as a family. During your tour, you can imagine which family member might sleep in each bedroom. You can start imagining how your morning routine might look, and mentally placing the family furniture into the space available. This is essential for choosing a rental home you and the family will enjoy living in together.

5) To Ask Questions of the Property Manager

Finally, rental home walkthrough tours are traditionally when tenant applicants and the property manager/landlord get a chance to talk about the house. If you have questions, this is your chance to ask while looking at the features you're inquiring about. You can point at a feature and ask, or you can use your tour to inspire all those insightful questions that we usually think of after it's too late.

If you take an in-person tour of a home rental, take this opportunity to talk to the property manager as well. If you take a self-guided virtual tour, be sure to take notes so you can email your questions to the property manager or bring them up on your virtual meeting instead.


Taking a tour is essential to choosing the right rental home for your next move. Whether you walk through personally or virtually, the tour helps you really know for-sure whether a house will make you happy or if your search should continue. When you're looking to rent your next home, contact us.



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