Any advice on finding an apartment to rent?

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Posted 11/14/2012 by MotherofJackals in NSBR Board
 

MotherofJackals
Turning holy water into wine

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:46:28 AM
It has been a long time (decades) since I rented an apartment and last time I rented it was just temporary until a home was finished. Now I'm looking for a longer term rental and don't know where to start. I live in a large metro area and have some idea of the general area and my budget but there are literally dozens of places and I do not have the time or money to check each one out. My main challenge is price it has to be low as low as possible without living in a roach infested sewer.

Does anyone have some tried and true tips for narrowing things down? Websites? guides? something to help me at least get it down to say 3-4 places. I've tried google and even places I know are BAD look great on their websites.



jennifw
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:48:56 AM
You might check to see if there is a city-data forum for your area/city. We have one here and it is very helpful to narrow things down. Just google city-data dot com and your city.

Good luck!

not2peased
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Posted: 11/14/2012 9:57:47 AM
craigslist-hands down best site to find apartments


-Kerry


Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.

Mrs Smarty Pants
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Posted: 11/14/2012 10:31:39 AM
I would get a real estate agent & stay the hell off Craigslist.

MotherofJackals
Turning holy water into wine

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Posted: 11/14/2012 10:38:21 AM

I would get a real estate agent & stay the hell off Craigslist.


I would love too but I have serious budget restrictions. That is the other challenge budget. I did check Craigslist and it is like opening a spam folder from hell.

Jennifw-I checked city data and found a link from there with a few promising leads. thanks.



SmartyPants71
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Posted: 11/14/2012 10:54:22 AM
I would use something like rent.com or apartmentguide.com to narrow down to the area of town you want to live, amenities, price, etc. Then, I would look at a site called apartmentratings.com to see actual resident reviews.
Note: all of the apartments on these sites are professionally managed, so you won't find any individually owned ones. Craigslist = yukky

MotherofJackals
Turning holy water into wine

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:06:14 AM

all of the apartments on these sites are professionally managed, so you won't find any individually owned ones.


Just as a side note for anyone with experience is one type better than the other? I mean in general is it better to have a management company or do places owned by individuals seem to be better? is there a huge advantage either way?

Like I said my last apartment was a long time ago in another city. It was a scary dump that was way over priced. Our upstairs neighbors had a water leak while we were out of town and we came home to our kitchen cabinets falling off the walls and mold everywhere. They decided since our lease was up the next month they would not fix it for us and then refused to give up our security deposit back.



not2peased
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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:10:55 AM

I would get a real estate agent & stay the hell off Craigslist.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



any particular reason why?

professionally managed places are listed on craigslist as well as privately owned apartments

everyone I know who has gotten an apt over the last few years found the place on craigslist.


-Kerry


Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.

Mrs Smarty Pants
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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:23:37 AM
I'm wary of Craigslist for "large" purchases, and where I would be living for a year is a pretty large purchase (to me)

Also? I've found that using an agent helps to weed out a lot of crappier places and that the landlord/management co is a little more invested (if that makes sense). Plus? You give them a list of what you're looking for and they have the knowledge, expertise and time to finding a good fit.


SmartyPants71
MTB Pea

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Posted: 11/14/2012 11:58:05 AM

Just as a side note for anyone with experience is one type better than the other? I mean in general is it better to have a management company or do places owned by individuals seem to be better? is there a huge advantage either way?



I have lived in both, and I have had mixed experiences but I prefer the professionally managed ones. Typically, they run background checks, so ou might feel safer knowing you are not living next to a convicted felon. Also, in my experience, maintenance issues are typically resolved faster as they usually have maintenance people on staff as well as spare parts in stock. Also, if management is onsite, they can accept and sign for packages if you are not home.

stefdesign
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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:09:27 PM
I also have had very limited experience with renting, having owned our own home for almost 35 years. But recently I moved across country, and had to find an apartment quickly.
Craigslist seemed to have a lot of options, but I got freaked out when I heard of all the scams & bad experiences. Then we got a RE agent, but had to terminate his services when he told us that he charged a month's rent for his work! Yikes, I just didn't have an extra $1500 floating around, in addition to the rent & security deposit.
We ended up finding listings online with an apartment finding service. We chose a small complex run by a management company and it's worked out really well. Repairs are done quickly and efficiently. They ran a generator after Hurricane Sandy so that we could all enjoy hot water, even though we had no power.
That's the way I'd go again!



SDeven
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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:44:26 PM
Where we live, there are apartment/rental catalogs that are published quartely and given away free in the entryway at the grocery store. It tells prices and locations, ammenities, etc of hundreds of properties in all price ranges.






Edgy Coolness
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Posted: 11/14/2012 12:55:10 PM
You might try the city chamber of commerce and the welcome wagon.

And this might seem strange but how about contacting one of the local Women's shelters in your area, they might be able to help you and your family with more than just a place to live.

I always lucked out when looking for a place to rent but it was as a single woman. I think the only time I was pretty much told I would be turned down was a small privately owned complex that had long term renters.

My friend who lives in Huntsville, Texas actually happened upon her current apartment complex when she was just driving around town. It was a "hidden gem" in an industrial park of all places.

At one point I lived in a townhouse community and I would suggest stopping by the office of some and asking if there were any for lease, lots of times the townhouses are bought as income properties.









MotherofJackals
Turning holy water into wine

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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:01:41 PM

I always lucked out when looking for a place to rent but it was as a single woman. I think the only time I was pretty much told I would be turned down was a small privately owned complex that had long term renters.


That is the situation I'll be in and I am hoping that will work in my favor. I am wanting a small 1 bedroom or studio.


My friend who lives in Huntsville, Texas actually happened upon her current apartment complex when she was just driving around town. It was a "hidden gem" in an industrial park of all places.


I am really hoping for something like this. I'm not super picky about location just as long as my commute isn't more than 10-15mins more than it is now which gives me a huge area. As much I don't want to waste the gas I'm finding I may have to do some driving to get a better feel of a few places before I can decide.



GrammarGirl
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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:33:04 PM
The two best apartments I ever found were those that were managed by a commercial property management company that I found on Craigslist. They were apartments over commercial retail stores and the management company didn't really want to put a whole lot of effort or cost into finding tenants, so Craigslist is the easy way to go.

There's pros and cons to both, but I've always liked the apartments I've lived in that weren't part of complexes better than those that were. And those apartments typically aren't on rent.com, etc.



BergdorfBlonde
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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:13:58 PM
We went on Apartments.com last year to find out apartment. We were out of State and had no idea about any apartments. We narrowed it down to about 20 apartments and then made appts to look at all of them. Turns out we chose 1 that wasn't even on our list but we liked it just passing by and ended up living here.

I agree on the real estate broker. They usually get 1 month's rent $ from the landlord. I'd check with them first. BE CAREFUL when you go looking. There are so many shady, creepy people out there........








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