Moving to a new location always feels like an opportunity to start fresh. It’s a time to let go of what we no longer need, use, or like in our lives.
But moving is also a stressful time. There are tons of decisions to make. And there’s so much to do. Including finding the perfect home.
But it’s tough to know where to start. The process can start to feel overwhelming.
To help you make the most out of your time, we’ve developed this guide.
Here’s how to find the best houses for rent in your area
Create a Plan
Before you do anything, the easiest way to find your perfect home is to figure out what you’re actually looking for.
Create a list of what you want in your new home. Don’t forget to include your pets, if you have any. Not all places are pet-friendly.
Include how many bedrooms and bathrooms. If you want specific features, include them as well.
Create a working budget. That will help narrow down the search a lot.
Also, check your credit. Landlords are much more willing to rent to someone with a good credit history. If you find any red flags, deal with them immediately.
If you’re planning on staying in the area or you’re moving to a new area where you know people, you’re already at an advantage.
You can inform your friends and family members that you’re looking for houses to rent. That way, if they know of any houses for rent or see any possibilities, they can pass along the information to you.
Tell your social media contacts that you’re planning on moving. Let them know what you’re looking for. There’s a good chance at least one of them will have a potential lead.
Check Rental Websites
An online search for rental houses is a good idea, but you also need to have a system in place so you won’t waste time.
Figure out which sites will help you find what you’re looking for. Try doing a search for homes using keywords such as “houses for rent” and include your zip code or the name of the town you want to move to.
If you’re searching for an apartment in a larger rental community, start with Rent.com. Look for rental units owned by smaller apartment companies. You can also look for condos leased by their owners.
You can also try a search engine like HotPads.com. That site features rental and for-sale home listings from 400 partners.
Don’t go crazy and search every site. It’s a waste of time and will end up overwhelming you. Instead, find 2-3 sites you feel have the best options.
Keep searching them every day as new listings will be available.
Check with Local Colleges and Universities
If you’re not searching for a long-term living situation, one place to look is around your local college.
Universities often have professors who are off on sabbatical and need to rent out their homes. A great site to find available homes is Sabbaticalhomes.com.
This site offers the ability to house sit, exchanges homes or do a straight rental through them.
It’s a great source if you’re looking to have your living arrangements settled quickly. The site often advertises houses for rent ahead of time since people plan sabbaticals in advance.
Hire a Real Estate Broker to Help Find Houses for Rent
Not everyone has the time to shop around for a new space to live in. It’s also difficult for people relocating to a new location to do a search.
You don’t know the neighborhoods. You’re also not living there yet and it’s tough (or impossible) to keep traveling back and forth.
This is especially true when you plan to move internationally. For example, if you plan to move to Panama, working with a Panama realtor to find houses for rent is a great idea. They know the neighborhoods.
They also are usually the first people to know what’s new on the market. And you can tell them exactly what you’re looking for.
Take a Drive
Driving around looking for houses to rent is another great idea. This will give you a good understanding of what the neighborhoods are really like.
Also, not everyone advertises online. Sometimes, they just put up a sign and hope for the best.
Also, if you drive around, you’ll see homes that are listed for sale. However, some of them have been on the market for awhile.
If a home has been on the market for awhile or the price has been reduced, there’s a chance the owner is open to renting the home.
That’s because the owner has probably already moved into their new home. That means they are probably paying mortgages on two homes and whatever utilities still need to be kept on.
Getting income from someone renting is better for the owner than letting their home sit empty and unsold.
For those people who love the touch and feel of newspapers, it’s still a great place to find houses for rent.
Grab your local paper and a marker. It may be simple, but it’s a good way to find the home you need.
Make Sure the Rent is Competitive
Once you’ve found a few houses you like, compare the rentals to make sure that the prices are competitive with the rest of the market.
Try a site like Rentometer.com to analyze how the rents compare to others in the neighborhood you’re looking to rent in.
If you find the rent is higher than normal, don’t walk away just yet. You’re in a position to negotiate. Take the printouts as proof and have a discussion with the landlord.
Be prepared to lose, but you might just get lucky.
The more informed you stay, the easier it is to accomplish your goals.
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