As the housing market has slowed down, the rental market has heated up. While that’s great news for landlords and property managers, it can increase the competition among renters looking for their dream place.
If you’re looking for a new apartment to rent, here are few things to consider in your search.
Know What You Want:
Before you pick up the phone and start calling or emailing about available rentals, make a list of things you want in your rental. Is location the most important criteria? Or, perhaps having a washer/dryer in the unit? Make sure you know these things in advance. But at the same time, be realistic so your list of must-haves won’t limit you.
Research the Market
While it’s well known that New York city rentals are on the high end — how about a New York City apartment with 400 square feet of living space for $2,250 a month — you may not know off the top of your head what good rental prices go for in your area. Compare and contrast rental listings, and check out the Rent Zestimate to get an idea if the walk-up you have in your eye on is worth the price.
Start Your Search
Don’t wait until the last minute to look for a rental — begin your search at least three months in advance. And be patient! While finding a house for rent may not take as long as finding a home to buy, it’s still going to take time and effort on your part. Wondering where to start your online search? Zillow has both single-family homes and apartments for rent. Plus, many other rentals are uploaded for free through Postlets and are cross-posted on Craigslist and other rental sites as well.
When you find an interesting place, apply as soon as you can. Gather the necessary documents — reference letters, IDs and proof of employment — before you meet with a landlord to save time on processing. When you do meet a property manager face to face, act as if you’re going to a job interview and present yourself as a great tenant. You may be one of several people who are vying for the spot.
Talk to Neighbors
Want to make sure the place you’re applying for is going to work out? Do some research into the neighborhood and if there’s anyone around, see if you can chat up a neighbor or two to get a better sense of the place you may be moving into.