It is not always an easy task to find your next rental. The process is stressful and there are just too many options to choose from. You are probably lost, confused, and you do not know where to start. That is completely natural; it happens to the best of us.
It is definitely stressful trying to find a rental that you want to move into and also can afford. If you don’t have experience moving from one rental to another, it can feel even more daunting. However, moving into a rental property does not have to be a near-impossible mission! Luckily, with proper preparation you will be able to better manage the moving process! Before you go down the rabbit hole, we compiled a list of seven important tips that will come in handy when you look for your next rental. You might find them completely useless, or it might just save you a lot of trouble. (And blood, sweat, and tears.)
All you have to do is just read through the article and follow the recipe accordingly. Of course, you should adjust these tips based on your current situation. (It is up to you to adapt these tips to your preferences.)
Tips for Finding A Rental Home
1. Start Looking Two Months Before You Expect to Move
You want to begin looking at your rental options 60 days before you expect to move in. The reason you want to start that early is so you have a greater chance of getting a better rental. Typically, the better the rental, the sooner it is off the market. This means that you want to be vigilant to see when these properties become available.
Once you give yourself a two-month period to look for a rental property, then you are giving yourself time to weigh your options. This is a better alternative to renting the first property you find and getting stuck with a place you don’t want. (And might end up leaving after a couple of months, anyway.) Also, you will be able to make an informed decision, when it comes to the price. If you are tight on time, then you will find yourself compromising the property’s value or how much you can afford. The best thing you can do is to wait for sixty days until you move into a rental property. This will give you the time and space to think things through and decide accordingly. (No need to be rash, this is not a Macy’s sale.)
2. Use Online Tools to Search Listings
The internet is your best friend, literally. You can find anything on it, including the right rental property with the right price. Thankfully, there are many online tools and search engines that are created specifically for rental listings. Using online tools is one of the most common ways to begin rental hunting. You should look through search engines like Apartments.com, Zillow, etc. These online tools allow you to get a sense of what your available options are, what price points you can expect to encounter, and more!
However, you should be very aware of rental scams. Keep in mind that not all rental listings are honest about the property or its current state. (The internet is also your worst enemy, in that sense.) You will need to be very thorough in your research for a rental property; we suggest that you conduct a background check on any rental property that catches your eye. (You never know what could be lurking behind the shower curtain or under the living room rug.) Other than that, you should be good to go.
3. Ask Professional Help Like from a Real Estate Broker
Most of the time, a real estate broker can help you find a rental property for free. However, it is important to find one that specializes in rental properties, as opposed to other fields like home sales. This can be a great source for rental house hunting tips, especially when you feel like you need additional assistance. You don’t want to use the first broker that you come across. Try to talk to a variety of brokers to see which one would be the best fit for you. Also, not every broker will have the same connections. You may find one that they can provide a lot more insight into the types of rentals you are looking to move into.
Professional help will provide you with an in-depth look to the rental world that you might not be able to see on your own. Real estate brokers know the ins-and-outs of rental properties, so it is easier for them to identify the real deal from the scams. Also, real estate brokers can help you negotiate the price of your next rental property with your landlord, which is always a plus.
4. Be Vigilant for Scams
Just as there are legit options for your next rental property, there are also scams that want to take advantage of those in need. You will likely encounter more scams on Craigslist, as opposed to other online tools like Zillow. However, there are scams everywhere, so you always need to be alert. Don’t provide personal information without ensuring the rental property is legit. If it is too good to be true, it likely is. (It is not the best way of thinking, but it is the most realistic. And realistic is the best option in situations like these.)
There is nothing wrong with being thorough while you are looking for your next rental property. You will be living there, after all. It would be a terrible shame for you to invest all of your time and money on a rental property and have it fall through. Additionally, if you are still unsure of the rental property, you can always conduct a background check and have an expert inspect the property. Make sure to check for any damage to the property. If you move in and there is damage, you might have to pay for it. Remember that this will be your home soon, so it is best to be safe than sorry in these types of situations.
5. Use Roommates
You will be able to have more options that fit into your budget if you split up rent with a roommate. However, if you want to consider this as an option, you want to make sure you go about it the right way! You will want to have two separate leases for the unit, so that you are only responsible for your portion of rent. If both of your names are on one lease, and your roommate is not responsible with their payments, then you need to cover the entire cost of rent which can seriously damage your finances.
If you have a close friend or a loved one that you trust and face the same financial situation as you, then you should consider moving in together. Having a roommate can be fun, and it will provide relief to your financial burden. Just make sure that you keep things professional when it comes to the housing costs. That is important so that you do not bear the brunt of the rent on your own.
6. Offer Longer Lease Options
Depending on the area you are looking to move to, you may need to set yourself apart from other applicants in highly competitive markets. You can opt to take on a longer lease term, if you’re in a competitive marketplace. That could be a swaying factor for a landlord. This can also be helpful in cases where the lease would end during months that have low move-in rates, like in November or December. In other words, longer leases will help you look more appealing to a landlord. Most landlords prefer tenants who stay long-term in a rental property. This is something you should take into consideration when looking for your next rental. Also, you should consider that during the end of the year, most leases come to an end. This is when landlords want to renew leases with their tenants or find new tenants.
7. Tour Buildings with Less Amenities and Less Units
More times than not, a residential complex with more amenity options will cost more than a smaller building with fewer amenities. This can be a great way to get a unit you like, but also help you save on costs of the actual complex. As much as residential properties with many amenities seems tempting, but you should consider that many amenities means more money. It would be a better and more frugal option for you to look for rental listings that have fewer amenities. Of course, you will be giving up the luxury of having all of your amenities in one place. But, the price of the complex will significantly decrease, if there are fewer amenities and fewer units.
If you find that you can afford amenities, then you look for a rental property that offers amenities and is within your price range. (That is the dream for any tenant, isn’t it?) You can also look through rental listings and narrow down your choices, based on price and necessary amenities that you want in a rental property. It would also be helpful for you to visit these buildings and take a quick look at the rental property. You will get a better sense of the building and its available amenities. Also, you can look at the surrounding neighborhood and see if it is to your liking or not.
In conclusion, finding a rental property is a hard thing to do. But, it is not an impossible task. You can do it, and we are giving you seven tips that will help you do it right. The first thing you should do when you are looking for a rental property is you should wait sixty days before moving in. The two-month waiting period will give you a chance to thoroughly look for rental properties, without rushing yourself. You will be able to take your time and make an informed decision. While you are looking for a rental property, we suggest that you use online tools to help you with your search. You can use rental listing tools and search engines that can find for you the right rental property you are looking for. These rental listing search engines include: Zillow, Apartments.com, or Craigslist.
Throughout the process of finding your next rental property, you should consider the possibility of talking to a professional. (A real estate broker and not a therapist.) A real estate broker will be able to find what you want effectively and efficiently, which will save you both time and money. Also, real estate brokers will be able to determine what rental listing is a scam and what the real deal is. As a bonus, a broker can help you negotiate the price of the rental property with a landlord.
An important thing that you should keep in mind is that there is a possibility that you might fall victim to a scam. Rental scams are very common these days, especially if you are looking for rental listings online. However, you can always check the rental listing thoroughly and even conduct an extensive inspection before you sign your lease. Speaking of leases, if you cannot afford to sign one and pay the rent on your own, you should consider a roommate. A roommate can help you with the financial load and it could be really fun for you. But, you should make sure that each of you signs a separate lease, so that you do not end up paying for everything yourself.
Finally, you should consider looking for apartments that offer longer leases. That will help shy away from a competitive market. Also, many landlords prefer long-term leases because it means that there will be a steady flow of money coming their way. If you find that money is an issue while you are searching, you can always look for rental listings that have fewer amenities and units. That way, the price of the complex will significantly decrease and you will be able to afford it.