Are you facing the prospect of renting an apartment in a city you don’t live in yet? Renting a home without seeing it before you move in is not ideal, but it’s not impossible either. It just requires careful planning and a willingness to trust photos.
Research the local market
Familiarize yourself with the market you’ll be renting in. The first thing that’s really important is thinking about what area you want to move to and honing in on that. Talk to people who already live in the city of your choice and ask what neighborhoods they recommend. Then figure out what the rental process looks like there. Do listings become available months in advance, or do landlords wait to release them until the last minute? What standard amenities should you expect, and what might you expect to pay a premium for?
Seek out local blogs and real estate websites for up-to-date intel on the market. And, of course, scour online listings in the areas you are considering. By understanding the lay of the land as well as pricing in specific neighborhoods, you can rule out places with asking rents above your budget.
Consider your commute
If you’re moving to a new city with a job lined up, you should consider your commute from the get-go. Ask the following questions: What will the commute time be from any given neighborhood? Beyond miles and distances, what are the traffic dynamics during rush hour?
Understand your commute expectations because knowing what you’re comfortable with can almost create the search. Map the route from various neighborhoods to your future office space using a service like Google Maps, which will take into account walking, biking, driving, and public transit options.
Get all your documents in order
Once you’ve found a place, you’ll want find out what information landlords expect from prospective tenants. In competitive rental markets, that list might be long, so get these documents ready in advance You can work with a leasing agent for the information needed. A complete renter’s profile may include pay stubs, credit checks, bank statements, and the like.
Research the building and landlord
Let’s say you have found a promising rental. There’s still research you can follow-up with online to make sure you’re as informed as possible. Look up details about the building, including when it was built, how many units it holds, and what amenities are included. And if the building is owned by a large management company, you can usually find online reviews about the company.