What it's like to move during a pandemic
Moving from one apartment to another can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but having a curveball like a global pandemic thrown at you while doing so can most definitely elevate stress levels.
Our millennial friend from Ottawa shares that it doesn’t need to be a difficult experience – as long as you plan ahead and work with your landlord to understand the process in advance.
In the following post, we’re diving into what it’s really like to move during the coronavirus pandemic, written and experienced by the author.
Finding the right apartment virtually
So you’ve given your notice on your current apartment and need to find the perfect home stat – but you’re unable to physically view places under the current global circumstances. Now what?
As a person who’s very particular, it was next to impossible to agree to a lease without actually viewing every corner of the apartment I’d be renting. As everything we once knew is changing around us, so is the way we tour prospective new apartments.
I quickly realized that meeting an agent and exploring physical units made me hesitant and a bit uncomfortable. In expressing that to a Leasing Agent, they had a solution – virtual tours.
Here’s how Minto Apartments’ virtual tours greatly impacted my renting experience:
• They sent me virtual samples of basically every suite type available. These included images of the actual units and buildings, so I was able to get a taste for the different finishes in each apartment like the countertops, cabinetry, floor finishes and more.
• I could compare different floor plans easier than if I visited the property in person. After viewing a few units in person, it’s easy to mix them up in your mind. With virtual tours, I could look at multiple units and compare every little thing.
o Most would also assume that a unit with more square footage is better, but actually being able to explore what layouts catered to my specific needs of living made a big difference (without feeling pressured to choose quickly).
• After I made my choice, a Leasing Agent took me through all the details. So I viewed the unit virtually and knew what the online version looked like, but would my specific unit look like this? Once I decided what floor plans I liked best, I was connected to a Leasing Agent who talked through the details with me and even offered to give me a FaceTime tour!
Having a Leasing Agent guide me through the process
Having a professional and helpful Leasing Agent made all the difference in my process of moving during the pandemic. My Leasing Agent worked in the building I was looking to rent in, so she was able to take and send me photos of the exact unit I wanted.
She answered every question I had, including specifics about the amenities and how to pay rent, and happily confirmed that I could bring my dog with me to my new home (Minto Apartments are 100% pet friendly!).
This is when I decided to take a step I’ve never taken before: I’m going to apply for this apartment without seeing it in person. This initially felt terrifying, however, I felt confident enough in the high-resolution virtual tours and the cell phone images from my Leasing Agent that I was leasing the product I wanted.
• Note: It’s important that you feel confident with the Leasing Agent you’re dealing with. Don’t forget that this is going to be your home for at least the next year, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and express any concerns you may be feeling.
• Tip: If you’re unsure, ask! Think of everything you’ll want to know before you move, like:
o Can you send me a photo of the showerhead?
o I’d like to see the inside of the cabinets.
o How would you describe the water pressure for the kitchen sink?
o Please show me the depth of the closets.
o How old are the appliances?
If you don’t ask, you won’t know. So I asked a ton of questions and my Leasing Agent was so patient through it all.
Understanding the guidelines and following them to a tee
This is a very important thing to remember: If you’re moving into a new building or shared space with other residents, keep in mind that this is their home too.
During these uncertain times, it’s important that we all work together to do our part. Ask your agent about the cleaning protocols, public safety measures, mask policies, and how they’re currently operating their common spaces. These are things you’re going to want to know for your own health and for the safety of those around you while you’re moving.
Once I felt confident enough and that I had all the information I needed, I applied for my new, beautiful apartment! My application was completed online through their website portal and submitted to the Leasing Agent. This process was similar to my past renting experiences and was easy to do.
Signing my new lease
When I understood what I was signing myself up for (a bright and beautiful new apartment in Toronto – yay!), I submitted my application, got approved and it was official!
This experience was pretty new to me, as every apartment I’ve leased in the past was through the leasing office, but it was so simple. There was no pressure for me to physically go into an office as they allowed me to do everything online.
• FYI: The online process was not only faster, I was also able to have a few of my friends and family look over the lease with me to ensure everything looked good before I sent it back with my signature on it.
Booking movers during a pandemic
Booking movers isn’t necessary if you’re lucky enough to know someone with a truck who’s willing to help. However, during a global pandemic things are a bit different. You need to be mindful of how many people you’re going to be bringing into your old and new buildings. I booked movers because I knew they’d get the job done quickly and efficiently, which is exactly what I needed.
I wanted minimal contact, and for the experience to be done safely and professionally (luckily that’s what I got).
• Tip: Make sure you read your movers’ policy on masks, hand washing and physical distancing. Ensure you treat them with the same respect by wearing your mask and sanitizing your items before they have to move them. This may seem tedious, but again, we’re all in this together.
Key hand-over and finalizing my lease
The unit was picked, the movers were booked and I was well prepared for my move. Now it was time to get my keys and walk into my new home for the first time – both exciting and nerve-wracking.
• Tip: If you’re unsure what this process is going to look like, talk to your Leasing Agent who will put you in contact with the correct people. In my case, I was receiving the keys from the building Superintendent so I had their phone number and email on hand in case anything went wrong.
This process was easy, quick and as safe as it could have been. I had a date and time organized with the Superintendent to meet in the lobby with our masks on and sign the final lease. Staying physically distanced the whole time, I received the keys and was shown around my new building.
I was asked if I’d like to be escorted up to my new apartment or if I’d rather go alone (I decided to go alone).
• Note: I wanted to limit the number of people in my new unit and I felt confident enough from the virtual tours and the images I received that I’d be able to navigate everything in the apartment without issue, which was the case. I did appreciate being asked though.
Prior to entering my apartment, we discussed how I could book the service elevator for the move and the elevator was ready for me on the day without needing to get in contact with anyone.
My moving day was finally here
Finally, the day that took all of this preparation and planning had arrived. It was a bit of an anxious morning, however everything went off without a hitch:
• Movers arrived masks and gloves on, were easy to work with and very understanding of any concerns I had.
• Arriving at the new building and loading into the already-prepared service elevator was effortless and I felt very confident with the almost non-existent physical contact that was occurring.
o Tip: Remember that your movers are professionals and even if you’re inclined to help, you must stay as physically distanced as possible to ensure their safety and yours. Sometimes staying out of the way is the best thing you can do.
o Don’t forget to carry hand sanitizer with you and use it often! It made me feel better through the process.
• Once everything was unloaded into the apartment and movers left, I thoroughly sanitized my apartment. Although the apartment was already clean, I felt that it was an important step to making me feel more secure in my new home.
At last – settling in
It was time to relax and enjoy my new space! Luckily, Minto Apartments already had toilet paper and soap ready for me in my unit (so nice!). I found a new local watering hole and a couple of patios, had some friends over in small groups and made sure we were all following the building’s safety protocols.
The idea of moving during a global pandemic was very stressful and difficult to wrap my head around. I found the most important thing was to be prepared and ensure everyone involved was practicing safety measures. It took a little more preparation than an average move, but ended up being simpler than I expected.
Remember not to be afraid to ask questions and certainly don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you’re planning to move soon, I hope this gives you a little peace of mind that it can be done safely.