The 7 Best Ways to Find Rental Homes

The 7 Best Ways to Find Rental Homes
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Finding the right house or apartment to rent can be quite a stressful experience. You want the house to be perfect and at your dream location, but you also want it to come at an affordable rate. On top of that, you could be competing with many other people for a quality unit at a prime location.

It may be difficult to find a place that is perfect in every way. But with a little forethought, you can land a place that is as close to what you want.

According to the real estate brokers, the key to finding the best apartment for rent is to plan ahead. More often than not, people wait until the last minute to start hunting for another apartment. During this time, they are generally desperate and would settle for almost anything that they can afford – even if it doesn’t provide them the best value for money or isn’t up to the mark. By planning ahead, you give yourself enough time to think things over and not settle for something you don’t like that much.

Here are some tips that can help you find the best rental houses in your area.

1. Begin Your Search At Least Two Months Ahead

The best rental places – in terms of locations, price, and amenities – usually go earlier in the month. So if you wait until midmonth to look for a new place to live, you may miss out on the good places. Ideally, you should start your search at least 60 days before you need to move in. This is even more crucial if you’re looking for a place in an area where there isn’t much property available for rent.

Another benefit of starting early is that you’ll have a lesser competition to deal with. The second and third weeks of the month tend to be busier, and all the hot properties will already be under the public radar. However, if you start your hunt on the first weekend, it’ll be easier to find great properties at less competitive rates.

2. Consult a Real Estate Broker

Most real estate brokers help renters find properties without charging a fee. However, it is crucial to find a broker that deals in rental properties and not home sales, and they’ll have better experience dealing with rentals.

If you want an apartment in an area with a particularly tight competition for rentals, it would be better to consult several real estate agents before committing to one. This is because different agents have different relationships with different buildings. So make sure that you ultimately stick with the agent who has access to the building or apartment where you want to rent a property in.

3. Search Online

You can find almost anything online nowadays, and rental apartments are no different. In fact, about 90% of renters are likely to start their apartment-hunt on Zillow or Craigslist. Another reason you start looking online is that you can get a sense of pricing and apartment amenities.

However, this may not be the best approach if you’re moving to a new city. The apartment rental sites won’t provide you information about the neighborhoods and their local amenities, such as grocery stores or public transportations. So you’ll have to research those things separately.

4. Consider Getting Roommates

Not only would sharing the rent and other utility expenses with a roommate decrease the financial burden on you, but it’ll also make it possible for you to get a better house than something you can afford by yourself.

However, it is vital to know who your roommates will be. If you don’t know your roommates, consider asking your landlord for separate leases. If you share a lease and your roommate doesn’t pay their share, you’ll be liable to pay the entire amount. However, if you have separate leases, you are liable for only your share of the rent, even if your roommate doesn’t pay their share. Also, don’t shy away from asking for references about your new roommate.

5. Surf Around Smaller Buildings

If you’re on a budget, getting an apartment in a 300-unit managed building with a 24-hour front desk, gym, sauna, computer lounge, fully furnished lobby, and a swimming pool may not be a very reasonable approach.

If you hunt around in six to eight-unit buildings without all these luxuries, you’ll be able to find the same-sized apartment at significantly less rent. So unless you know you’re going to be making good use of the above-mentioned amenities, it wouldn’t be very reasonable to pay for them.


6. Offer to Take a Lease for 13 Months

Traditional renters take a 12-month lease for the apartments. So if you’re eyeing a place in a competitive marketplace, a good way to get the landlord’s attention is to offer to take a 13-month lease.

A 12-month lease often expires in November or December. Since it is generally difficult to rent out properties in those months, the landlord would prefer to rent out their property to someone who’s willing to pay for an extra month.

7. Steer Clear of Scammers

While it is a good idea to check online, it is also important to be aware of scammers. If you find any ads on Craigslist that require you to provide credit card details to pay a deposit without even showing you the apartment, stay away from it and report it if you can. You shouldn’t be required to make payment for a deposit without touring the apartment.

Additionally, make sure to do a proper background check while renting an apartment directly from a private person. You’ll be giving your Social Security number and bank account details to a complete stranger who’ll likely run a credit card check on you. So it is better to be 100% sure who you’re dealing with. However, it is always better to work with a licensed real estate broker.

As you can see, there are various steps your can take to find a rental apartment more easily. So if you’re looking for a place to rent, do a few of these things to make your hunt easier.