How Do I Find an Apartment? - The Renter's Guide
Moving into your first apartment can be both an exciting and confusing experience. With so many apartments in any given city, it can be hard finding a good one that's both affordable and available.
The last thing you'd want to do is make a mistake and move into an expensive or overpriced place while missing out on the cheap apartments and good deals. It's a very bad decision to make and you'd obviously want to make sure you do everything right and get the best deal for your money.
Well I've personally lived in plenty of apartments, so I'll cover all the basics so you can make a wise and informed decision, and also so you'll know where to look.
Craigslist is an online website with classified ads which can be a great place to find an apartment and it's how I found my last apartment. Unfortunately, it can also be a great place to get scammed if you're not careful.
If you're not familiar with Craigslist, the apartment section on their website is pretty easy to find. To find it, first go to Craigslist.org and click on the city you're from or nearest town, you'll see a section on the main page that is titled "housing". Under this section you'll most likely see a link titled "apts/housing". Take a look in that section of Craigslist and you'll find all the apartments for rent in your area.
Sometimes the cheapest apartments and bungalows available are listed in Craigslist instead of some other places because Craigslist is free to list apartments on. So a lot of times you can cut out the middle-man (the realtor) and go straight to the source on Craigslist. Another thing that makes Craigslist a great place for your search is that month to month apartments are more likely to be on there compared to most other places as well.
As mentioned earlier, Craigslist can also increase your chances of being scammed so you should be super vigilant when using their site. Since it's free and pretty much anybody can list anything on there, the scammers know this and will often post ads that are just tricks to part you from your money.
Aside from Craigslist, there's literally thousands of real estate websites online for you to find an apartment on.
Rent.com is easily the most popular one and probably the first place you should check out. They often offer you money back if you confirm with them that you've rented an apartment from a listing you found on their website. For example, they are known for sending out $100 gift cards after you can confirm this with them and have stayed at a place for a certain period of time.
Other websites that list apartments for rent or sale include Trulia.com, Apartments.com, Zillow.com, Backpage.com, and ApartmentFinder.com. Sometimes, to find the best deal, you'll have to check out as many websites as you can as some people only list apartments on certain websites and not others.
The classified ads in your local newspaper is a great place to look for apartments, but there isn't as many of them listed in there as there would be online. But it's still worth a look because sometimes there may be some good deals in there that you can't find online.
The type of people who advertise in the newspaper can vary, as some realty companies still use it but so do regular average people who may have bungalows or guesthouses for rent.
It usually costs a significant fee to advertise an apartment in the newspaper so this is why there are less people who list in there these days. But because of the fees they charge, this means there's less scammers who use this method to fool people. When it comes to the best days to purchase the newspaper, that can depend on a lot of things. For one thing, Sunday is usually the day with the most listings, which is why the newspaper is slightly more expensive to buy on Sundays.
The main downside to buying the newspaper on Sunday is that you have more competition since there are more people reading it on that particular day. An apartment listed in there on a Sunday may be vacant early in the morning but as soon as people see it listed they may rent it and you could miss out.
But it would also be foolish to purposely avoid Sunday newspapers for this reason because you never know; you could end up missing out on a really good deal if you don't buy it on that day. So if you really want to cover all your bases, it's probably best that you check the newspaper out every day until you find an apartment.
One method that is usually cheaper and easier is to go online and see if the newspaper's company set it up online. Many newspapers are now online, in addition to being printed on paper, and it's usually free to look at the classified section online.
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