How to Find a Rental {Or Not}

Here is my authoritative guide to finding the perfect rental.

Or not.

1. Hire a realtor. You’ll want someone who’s experienced and impartial (i.e., not affiliated with any of the properties you’re considering), but not afraid to take on renters. Ask co-workers or other acquaintances for recommendations. A realtor can help you wade through the sea of available options and help you find exactly what you’re looking for while representing your best interests to potential landlords.

OR… just do online searches on places like Trulia, Homes.com and even Craigslist, and contact the real estate agent who represents the apartment you’d like to see. 

It worked for us.

2. Investigate the facility thoroughly before signing on the dotted line. Make sure the property is truly as advertised, because sometimes those landlords get a little creative with their listings. Cozy? Try “tight”. Charming? Perhaps “dated” is a better choice of words. You’ll also want to be sure that the building is sound, otherwise you might get stuck with drafty windows, wimpy water heaters, or inadequate heating units.

OR… Have you brother-in-law stop by to visit the place on his way home from work so he can give you a thumbs up or thumbs down. Accept the enthusiasm oozing from his voice over the phone as approval to move ahead. Tell the real estate agent as soon as possible that you’d like a 1-year… no wait, make that 2-year lease on the property, ASAP!

It worked for us.

3. Interview potential landlords. I mean, seriously, you never know what kind of crazies live in this world. Will they disappear and leave you wondering where (and to whom) you should pay the rent, with a broken washing machine on your hands (this may or may not have happened at some point in my life)? Do they have a secret criminal past (background check, perhaps?)? You want to be sure your landlord will be responsible and quick to respond whenever you have an issue with the property. Plus, you don’t want them to be weird.

OR… you can meet your landlord when you arrive to check out your new place and sign the lease… all in the same day. 

It worked for us. 

4. Avoid partial property rental situations. Again… you don’t want to be sharing space with crazies! Those situations where the landlords live in the same house as you, just a thin door (or wall) away? Creepy.

OR… Find a gorgeous, spacious basement apartment for rent in one of the richest areas in the county, with a humongous yard and a lovely arbored patio that you can (at least temporarily) call your own. Safe neighborhood, 50% more space than you had previously, and just off the main road for your DH’s commute to work. 

It worked for us. 

5. Negotiate the price. There may or may not be room to budge, but it doesn’t hurt to try! Just like in actual real estate transactions, it can be possible to lower the rent. It all depends on the landlords’ situation and what he/she is trying to get out of the place. It’s always worth a try!

OR… Don’t haggle over the price because you’re afraid someone else is going to snap up this gem before you can. And because, since utilities are included, you’re saving effectively $300 a month anyway, so who cares if the rent is at the top of your range?!

It worked for us.