Many people rent apartments, condos, and townhouses before they decide to purchase their first home. You may not be ready for the commitment of home ownership, either because you haven’t found an area you want to live long term, you plan on switching locations often, or because you don’t have your finances prepared for a huge purchase like a house. Whatever the case may be, millions of people are renting. While some consider it “throwing your money away”, as long as you’re paying for a roof over your head, it’s not. So how do you find an apartment in your community?
- Look around: You can usually find a place for rent just by looking around an area. Landlords and property management companies are constantly advertising rental properties with signs detailing the types of properties available. Look for signs that say “for rent”, “apartment available”, and “looking for roommates”.
- Ask around: Chances are, you know someone who knows of a housing community with units for rent, or someone who is renting out their property. My husband and I found our current townhouse rental through a coworker who was moving. In many cases when you personally know someone renting a place out, you can work out a discount for your rent. At our previous apartment, if we referred others to the complex and they signed a lease, we would receive a referral bonus which discounted our rent.
- Look through apartment books: There are hundreds of apartment complexes that advertise their vacancies in free booklets like Apartment Finder. I grabbed a copy from our local juice bar, and found a lot of different communities that I may have otherwise overlooked. I was able to find out their amenities as well as where their prices begin.
- Check online: The first apartment I ever moved in, I found online. You can usually type in rentals in your area in your search engine and find a lot of places of interest. What I like about searching online is that you can do an advance search with your criteria. You can narrow down the search results by choosing your maximum desired rent, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether you need a pet friendly property and more. You can even find floor plans, pictures, and virtual tours for many of the properties.
- Classifieds: There are still plenty of rental listings in classifieds. For college students, your school newspaper or magazine usually has a classifieds section that advertises places for rent that you may not find in any other place because they’re looking for a specific type of person, such as a student or a roommate instead of a sole renter. Websites such as Craigslist will also have a section for rentals, but always beware of scams.
Looking for an apartment or other rental in your community is fairly simple. Once you find a place that you like, prepare by asking questions like how long is a lease term, how many visitors are allowed, when rent is due, and what are the community rules. Don’t forget to bring money for an application fee as well as a security deposit, and be ready for a credit check as well. Happy hunting!