The 5 Most Frustrating Things about Finding a Place to Rent
Moving is always stressful, but the process of hunting for a new place to rent can sometimes be the most painful part. From dealing with online scams to avoiding shady landlords, apartment or house hunting can be tough for anyone. These five things can help you prepare for what to expect and what to avoid as you look for a place to rent.
1. Finding something affordable to rent
One major obstacle that many renters come in contact with is the struggle to find something decent that they can afford. As the housing market continues its upward turn in pricing, rental properties will be priced higher than some renters are used to. In growing areas like St. George, the demand for housing, including rentals, is constantly high, and only growing more. It can be tough to find a place to rent that is within your price range, and that you are excited about. Often, a real estate agent may have knowledge of properties that don’t always come up in local listings available to the consumer. The help of an agent may be able to save your budget as you look for a place to rent.
2. Meeting your non-negotiables for location and amenities
It can be tough to find a place to rent that is within your budget and also not too far from your work, friends, or gym. You may have your eye on a certain neighborhood, but perhaps there are no available rental listings in that specific area. There may appear to be plenty of apartments available online, but nothing within a decent commute for you. Some rental listings may be available only through a real estate agent, in order to attract and verify only the best quality tenants. It may be worth checking with a local rental agency to see which rentals they know about that you don’t. If you don’t have much time for research, an agent can also help to ensure that your new neighborhood is safe and a good fit for you or your family demographics.
Finding a place to rent that has everything you need for your individual lifestyle can be tough. Many renters are looking for a gym a fitness center within or near their apartment complex. Some people can’t live without a pool. Basics like a washer and dryer in the unit, new appliances, air conditioning, and updated bathrooms can really make the difference for many renters looking for their new home. If a renter is also a pet owner, it can be even more difficult to find a place to rent that allows pets. Most pet owners should expect to pay a larger deposit when they move in, and perhaps an additional monthly fee for having a pet. Keeping a list of what you must have in a rental, and what you can compromise on, will be very handy as you select a place to rent.
3. Navigating online ads and photos that don’t always give the full picture
Many renters find that online listings like Craigslist or ApartmentFinder are extensive, but often contain too great a ratio of poor-quality posts. The accessibility and simplicity of Craigslist is a double-edged sword: almost anyone within internet access can create a post, but that means that posts can come from anyone, whether they should be trusted or not. There is quite a bit of junk on sites like these, and a renter will often need to sift through it to glean the legitimate and desirable posts from the pile. For verified listings that have stricter requirements to post, your real estate agent can guide you to the best quality of websites and listings for your potential new home.
Another frustrating obstacle with online listings is often the lack of photos or quality photos to show the floor plan and condition of a rental you may be interested in. Good pictures can assist you when you are deciding whether or not to even view the property, or just move on. Though it may be hard to take good quality photos in a rental property that isn’t very spacious, seeing photos of the rooms can provide the renter with a feeling of security that the place is real and that the landlord has nothing to hide.
4. Sifting through online scams
Along with online posts that lack sufficient information or pictures, some listing sites are host to spam and scams that can really slow you down as you look for a place to rent. Most sites with any scam risk will list tips to avoid being scammed as you search. If any seller or landlord asks for money wired to them outside of the country, beware. It is also wise to use a spare email address that doesn’t include your personal information for inquiring about rental properties if you are not familiar with the owner of the listing. Many experts will say that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
5. Agreeing to background, credit, and reference checks
Anyone looking to rent a place should be prepared to have their rental, financial, and work history verified, sometimes in detail. Many landlords ask for an application fee, used to fund a credit check. There are usually plenty of landlords and listing that will rent to people with bad credit under certain conditions, but it is something that a renter will need to be prepared to discuss. Landlords may even ask for professional and personal references regarding your character. It is common to request rental references too, specifically any past landlords. A landlord will be curious about your habits as far as paying on time, keeping the unit clean, and giving adequate notice about maintenance issues and changes to the lease. Though it may seem invasive, cooperating with these checks will show you are a responsible renter, which can work to your benefit when you have questions or requests for your landlord going forward.