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Finding a suitable apartment to move into can be a challenging task, particularly in the UAE where there are plenty of choices for buyers and tenants. Thankfully, the current circumstances do not massively affect the house-hunting process, provided we take physical distancing measures account.

There are still plenty of people looking to sell or rent out apartments that cater to every need, from freehold to leased properties and furnished villas to unfurnished apartments. But how to safely.

Is this the right time to move

It could be the need for additional space as we have started to work from home and adjust to the ‘new normal’, increased value for money as rents around the city become more affordable, or even an expiring lease which could drive the decision to move.

However, some landlords have movement restrictions in place to help control the spread of the coronavirus, so under these extraordinary circumstances, it is worth checking with the property management if any permits are required to make the move.

If it is not absolutely necessary to move immediately, it may be worth speaking to your landlord to extend your current lease and negotiate a month-to-month payment plan while the dust settles.

How to stay safe during property viewings

Usually, apartment searches require a lot of face-to-face interaction, such as touring the apartment in person with an agent or meeting to sign a lease. However, people should take the necessary safety measures and keep a distance from others. While browsing through apartments on online portals, make sure to go through the images thoroughly.

We know property seekers want an interactive and seamless property search experience especially under the current circumstances, so we have recently upgraded our experience with Virtual Viewings. The property search experience now offers a remote and comprehensive tour of desired properties, which will, in turn, help tenants and buyers make better decisions with access to higher-quality listings.

It is also worth requesting the broker for a floor plan to get a better idea of the property. Furthermore, consider setting up a video call with the agent for a virtual tour. This way the pool of properties that you have shortlisted can be evaluated from the safety and comfort of your home.

The next step would be to view the shortlisted properties in person. While getting out of the house, necessary and additional precautionary measures should be taken, such as wearing a mask and avoiding touching your face. While meeting real estate agents, landlords and building owners, maintain a distance of at least six feet and avoid otherwise common courtesies like shaking hands. Other preventive measures like sanitizing hands after touching any surfaces or washing them with soap, if possible, should also be taken.

How to take care of legalities

After narrowing down on a new place to move into, the next step would be to apply for a tenancy contract through Ejari. Though the Ejari offices are working remotely as a safety measure, tenancy contracts can be registered through the online portal or app. The same applies to other necessary requirements like water, electricity, and internet services.

Speak to the moving company about their hygiene measures

Moving companies all across the country have taken additional steps to guarantee sanitation. However, it is imperative to contact different movers beforehand to ensure that the move is carried out with the highest standards of hygiene. As an added measure, ask the moving company when how frequently the temperature of the moving team is checked, and if they wear anti-microbial face masks, gloves and have sanitizers on hand.

Sanitize your new home before moving in

To minimize the risk of infection before moving in, clean the new house thoroughly. It is best to hire deep cleaning companies after moving all the furniture to warrant the highest level of sanitation and disinfect the resident before finally settling down in the new home.

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