How to Find a House to Rent?

apt to rent

You may have been lucky to find a place to crash for few days, but now you are on your own.  What options do you have?  Where and how to find a rental place to live?  This article’s objective is to provide information that will simplify the process of finding a rental place in USA.

What kind of rental place are you looking for?

As the saying goes, “you need to know ‘what’ is that you are looking for before you can find it”. Same holds true for rental place. What are your priorities? Are you able to commute to your school or work OR do you need access to public transit? Do you want to be surrounded by people from your home country or do you want to be part of a contemporary community. How important is it that the community has gym? These are but few items that you need to short list before you start searching for rental place. Here is a quick checklist:

  1. What is the price range you are looking for?
  2. Are you looking for pet friendly communities?
  3. Are there any restrictions as to having guests over night?
  4. What kind of parking are you looking for? Covered or open?
  5. What kind of credit history do you need to rent and what are your options?
  6. Are you looking for properties close to public transit?
  7. Do you have any specific locations in the city that you want to live at?
  8. How safe is the locality?

What if I don’t have credit history, yet?

If you are new in US and have not yet established your credit history – you can still rent a place by:

Deposit: Some rental places will lease a place on 30 to 60 days advance rent basis i.e., you pay the rent for 30-60 days in advance.  Once you establish your credit history – you will be able to get into long-term leases.

Direct owner rentals: Owners who are looking to let-out spare room or apartment may rent you without credit check when you establish your identity by showing your documents.

Sub-let: People who have to move to another city or location due to change in their job, family status or any other reason may be willing to rent you their place without much scrutiny (once you prove your identity).

Where to look for rental places?

Now that you have your priority list ready, let’s look at the most popular places to find rental place in the United States.

1. Rent.com: One of the simplest interfaces covering major cities, rent ranges and host of other filters that you can use in order to find the perfect place of your liking.

2. Apartments.com: Best feature of this site is – you can simply type the apartment/community name that you are considering to rent and instantly read reviews submitted by previous renters. This can save a lot of headache.

3. ForRent.com: Whether you are looking for extended stay, off campus housing, senior style living or just a regular rental – this website carries details to all those.

4. Promove.com (where available):  We are a big fan of ProMove.  Unfortunately, this service is not available in all cities.  See if Promove is available in your city .  To use promove, you walk into their office, tell your preferences and they search a rental place for you.  It is free for you to use.  We got sweet deals on two occasions when we used Promove in Atlanta area.

4. Craigslist.com:  sound as it may, there are some genuine ads on craigslist, especially, related to rentals, sub-lets, sale etc.

5. Country based classified sites: You may already know a site that specializes in serving people from your country living in USA.  For example: for Indians – there is www.sulekha.com which has extensive classifieds section.

6. Take a walk: sometimes easiest way to find a rental place in the location of your liking is to take a walk in the community during the weekend.  If you find balloons outside any property – it means – they have some vacant places for rent/sale.  You would be surprised just how easy is to find a place to rent in this old fashion way.

What if you want to find rental place before you move to US?

If you have to find a rental place before you move into US (or searching for another city before moving) – you can do so in following ways:

1. Ask your colleague/school:  Reach out to your employer or school to help you connect with individuals who can help you find a temporary place for few weeks or a temporary lease.

2. Seek refuge of social community:  Be it facebook, twitter, yahoo groups – you can find someone living or with lot of information about the city you are about to move – ask them for help.

3. Maps, ratings and internet: Make use of internet to find out the community you want to live in, read reviews and see how far it is from your school/employer by making use of maps.google.com.

4. Extended stay:  Zero down on 3-4 properties that you potentially like to rent.  Make a zip code search to find an extended stay (www.homestead.com, www.extendedstayamerica.com,  www.crosslandstudios.com, etc.) close to your rental properties.  Extended stays have a small kitchen and are cheaper compared to regular hotel stays.  You can rent the room for week or more.

Move into the extended stay and then visit the properties you have narrowed on.  What this will help you do is you can check the properties that you have zeroed on in person and make an informed decision. When possible, do NOT sign leases or pay upfront for any rental property before you actually see it personally.

By making use of the information above, we hope you will find a rental place of your liking. All the best in your search.