Looking for a rental property can be intimidating your first time. Knowing where to find rentals or what you should be looking for is hard — especially if you’re trying to move to a new city.
Kristofer and I recently moved to the St. Pete area in Florida, and were looking to live in a quieter (and easier to access) environment than the apartments we had previously. Neither of us had rented a house before, however, so we didn’t know where to get started. Rentals were going on and off the market at an alarming speed, and it felt as if we weren’t going to be able to find a property because by the time we could view the rental, it already had applicants lined up before us.
There are three major sites that helped us finally find our rental:
(There are also some tablet/phone apps, including the ones for these sites, that may be helpful for you. However, I like to open each property in a separate tab and compare them, so those didn’t really work for me – I needed something with a website.)
These sites can often get you to local property management sites, as well, which may have other properties available that you didn’t find originally.
You can search by location, price range, and size, among other criteria. I would compare photos, deposits required, and descriptions, closing any properties that were immediate ‘no’s. After that, I took the information from each property and compared them in a chart, knocking off some more, and finally settling on half a dozen or so to contact for a showing. (More on comparing properties in a later post.)
Beware: never agree to rent a house that looks “too good to be true,” do not wire any money, and always make sure the person you’re signing with actually owns the house (more on how to check this in a later post).
By the way, the rental Kristofer and I are in now is rented by the owner which has it’s own pros and cons. (But, guess what? More on that later!)