When you first begin trying to find a home for rent, you may ask yourself, “where should I start?” You should begin by compiling a list of must-haves for your rental home. For example: number of bedrooms, size of yard, upgrades, etc. If you have chosen to rent a house over an apartment, then you must also consider the upkeep that comes with living in a house. Unlike renting an apartment, most of your utilities and maintenance fees will not be included your monthly rent. Before you begin your search to find a house for rent, set your total budget for household expenses including rent, utilities and maintenance fees. The landlord should be to provide you with an estimate for the additional expenses. Once you have your list of must-haves and your budget set, you are ready to head to one of the resources listed below to find the best house for you.
Craigslist.org: If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you will love Craigslist. It is a very useful place to find a home for rent because it’s simple and free for the owner and potential tenants. As a result, you’ll most likely have a larger selection here than you would on one of the other rental search sites. On Craigslist, you can narrow your search by area, price range, number of bedrooms, rent price, pet policy, and even key words (such as ‘downtown’ or ‘swimming pool’).
Helpful Tip: If you are set on staying in a particular area, then click on the “map view” tab to see available rentals on the map.
Real Estate Agent: Real estate agents have many resources that are available specifically to them. They can often help you find more homes than you would on your own and give you some insight on the home and area. They can also update you anytime a home that matches your criteria becomes available. Working with an agent typically saves a lot of hassle and headache for the less-experienced renter, but it’s important to note that there is often a fee for their services. Sometimes the landlord will pay these fees, so the service will be free to you (the tenant). It’s best to call your local real estate offices to find out what they offer and for what fee.
Helpful Tip: Visit Realtor.com to see a list of properties from multiple agents in your area.
Local Newspaper: Believe it or not, the local newspaper can be a great way to scout homes for rent. Not every renter is hip to the other resources available online, so many still head right to the good ol’ classifieds. Even seasoned property managers will list properties here in order to cover all of their bases.
Helpful Tip: If you don’t receive the newspaper, you can usually view the rental listings on the website of your favorite paper for free.
Drive Around: If you know the area you’d like to live, then consider a leisurely walk or drive through the neighborhoods to look for a for rent sign on your own. This method can be the best bet if you are set on one area. Seeing the homes in person will also help you decide whether it’s worth making a phone call to schedule a showing, whereas photos online have the potential to be deceiving, only highlighting the best features in the home.
Helpful Tip: Introduce yourself to the neighbors while passing through. They may have some inside information; for example, if someone is about to move out and list their home for rent.
Once you’ve decided on a home to rent, gather your moving supplies, and check out these other resources to help you through the moving process:
What resources have you found to be most useful when searching for a rental home? Tell us below in the comments section.