General Question

Lunar_Landscape's avatar

How, besides browsing internet listings or seeking the help of paid professionals, can you find properties for rent?

Asked by Lunar_Landscape (301points) May 13th, 2016

If you don’t know where to look, don’t know anyone who knows, and can’t afford to hire anyone who knows, what are your options?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Contact your local real estate agents. They usually have listings of rental properties.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Online is pretty much the only place to look these days. Or, if you know the specific neighbourhood you want an apartment in, drive/bike/walk around and look for signs on the balconies or in windows. But all those places will also have listings online. Different sites will be popular depending on where you live. Try Craigslist, Kijiji, Airbnb, and Padmapper, at the bare minimum. Maybe ask around and see what people mostly use in your area.

Esedess's avatar

The best way to look for rentals is looking online. That’s just the reality. You could spend hours driving around different neighborhoods and apartments and never find what you’re looking for (not to mention most houses for rent don’t have a sign up).

Websites for specific real estate offices in the area.

Dutchess_III's avatar

May I ask why you don’t want to search online?

Seek's avatar

Drive around the neighborhood looking for signs?

Lunar_Landscape's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t know much about it, so maybe this was ignorant of me, but I was under the impression that the only way to find out about every rental property available would be not to rely solely on the internet (similar to how not every job is listed on the internet because employers don’t always choose to use that as their recruiting method). I thought that if I was wrong someone here would correct me. If it’s true that everything available has a listing on the internet somewhere, then I stand corrected. Maybe the problem was just that I didn’t know where on the internet to look.

Also, I didn’t think real estate agents would give any help for free, but maybe that again just proves how ignorant I am.

Buttonstc's avatar

You’re not necessarily ignorant, just inexperienced. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone has to start somewhere.

And you are correct to ask because even the Internet can’t possibly have every available property for rent.

And as far as real estate agents are concerned, they get their fees reimbursed by the owner of the property once a tenant is found so there is no cost to you (or at least I’ve never heard of such a thing )

A combination of Craigslist plus real estate agents should get you most of what’s available in any given area. At least in this day and age those are the best options.

There are still places which are only available through word of mouth if the owner can afford to be choosy and be without rental income for awhile.

Over 20 yrs. ago when I first moved to Philly to take a teaching job, one of the other teachers there introduced me to the owner of the previous apt. in which she had live .

It was not advertised anywhere because it was on the second floor above a Doctor’s office. Because the two floors were not sealed off from each other they had to be quite choosy about finding someone trustworthy to live there. Just putting up a general ad would not be workable.

And obviously, as a doctor they could afford to be without rental income until an acceptable tenant was found.

But, anyhow, most widely available places nowadays will show up online or one of the several other alternatives people have listed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Real Estate agents will help you because it’s good PR if you decide to buy a house down the road. Plus many of them actually manage the rentals, so they’ll make money off of the rent. But you don’t have to pay for a listing.

Also, local papers are a good source. Many people who advertise in local papers are a little older and don’t understand the power of the internet.

Also, on Facebook I’ve been able to find buy / rent / sell houses under county pages that people start. Here’s an example of Sedgwick county (Wichita Kansas.)

I agree. You are not ignorant and you asked a good question.

Buttonstc's avatar

Oh, I almost forgot. I have no idea what area you’re in, but sometimes there are well established local businesses or groups which have billboards which anyone in the community can use, like this place in Philly.
Clearly they started off in the hippie 70s and managed to thrive throughout the years. There is a huge bulletin board where people can post job, rental and other types of Listings at no cost.

Even before I became a member, I used it to find a terrific house share in a gorgeous Victorian mansion where I lived for over 10 years.
The owner only used Weavers Way when a vacancy came up because it was mostly seen by people that he’d like to have as tenants.

If there’s something like that or a Community Center or whatever that has a free bulletin board that might list some places not seen elsewhere.

Even tho he used Weavers Way for years, he finally did resort to using Craigslist as well. Personally, I think the quality of tenants was better when it was just WW. But he didn’t really want to carry a vacancy any longer than necessary, so added an online listing on CL.

But, check around your area to see if there’s any places where people congregate that have a free BB. You just might get lucky like I did.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@Seek Drive around the neighborhood looking for signs?

In a dense area that works.

Whenever I had to apartment hunt in Chicago I bicycled the streets in my target neighborhood (parking sucks, a car makes it slower) and wrote down phone numbers from all the appealing buildings.

Esedess's avatar

@Dutchess_III Real estate agents will help because they get a commission from the listing office. Most offices do property management too, and if the property you end up renting is being handled by an agency other than the seller themselves, they receive compensation as the “lessor’s agent.”

Esedess's avatar

@Lunar_Landscape Driving around to find a rental would be a lot like driving around to try to find a store that sells boomerangs. You go to Target and they don’t have it. You drive to Walmart and they don’t have it. Try the Chick’s Sporting Goods and PlayitAgainSports, and they don’t have it. Could have saved the gas and time by just calling upfront and crossing each store off.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@Esedess Different locations require different strategies.

As I mentioned above, driving (or biking) around works very well in a dense area, like here in Chicago.

You can look at dozens of buildings in a day and quickly whittle your list down to the few where you would like to live.

Esedess's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Agreed. But I feel like your physical travel radius and visual observations are more limited in person than on the internet. You see a “FOR RENT” sign, but how much is it? How many beds/baths? Pets allowed? Utilities included? How many 3 bedroom houses out of your price range are you going to waste your time checking out when you’re looking for a 2 bed max with 1000+sqft, and a fully fenced-in backyard? See what I’m saying?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@Esedess Like I said twice, it depends on density.

I could bike every street where I want to live in one day, and rule in/out hundreds or maybe thousands of apartments.

dappled_leaves's avatar

When I was looking for an apartment in Montreal a few years ago, I cycled the neighbourhood, too. I could stand outside the building and call directly. It’s has pros and cons, just like looking online – you can see the neighbourhood and the building immediately, and that makes it easy to rule things out. However, you don’t know the layout or what amenities come with (laundry, fridge/stove, heating), which are all listed online to see before you call. So, you spend less time on one hand, but more time on the other.

Ultimately, I found my place on Kijiji, which is the dominant site for online apartment listings here. And while looking, I found pretty much all the places I’d biked past anyways. I’m not sorry I did that, because it allowed me to explore the neighbourhoods, but I’m not sure I’d bother doing it again, to be honest.
Also, I’m surprised to see many people recommending real estate agents. I’ve never used one in my life to find an apartment. It’s just not a thing in this city at all. It is apparently becoming a thing in Toronto, though. So, like everything else, it’s the regional trends you need to pay attention to. @Lunar_Landscape, you need to ask a few questions of people who live in your city, or just cast your net wide, see where the bulk of the listings are, and focus your attention there.

Judi's avatar

Newspapers and rental magazines still exist

Dutchess_III's avatar

@dappled_leaves It never occurred to me to use a real estate office either until I went to rent for the first time in 13 years, after being being married and owning my own home for those 13 years in Wichita. Someone suggested it, I got a list, and got a hit.
I rented there for 4 years and bought another house in 1999.
One of the next things I did, when I considered the rental, was to call the utility office to find out the average utility bills for the place, since it was an older house and not an apartment.
You just live and learn. I don’t think there is a commission involved but I’ll check.

Just start turning over stones @Lunar_Landscape. Good luck.

jca's avatar

If there are local businesses around, go in and talk to the people that work there. Many people have apartments to rent but don’t want to advertise, they would rather have someone refer someone to them. A good friend found her last two apartments through her hairdresser.

YARNLADY's avatar

In the past, I found rentals by simply walking around the neighborhood I wanted to live in. I found the best ones when I wanted to be close to work and walked up and down the streets until I found something close enough to walk.

Judi's avatar

Different communities have different norms. Larger communities have locator services that will take you around like a realtor does. The landlord usually pays the commission.
Other communities have property management companies that specialize in small properties without resident managers.
If you’re looking for an apartment you can still check the yellow pages as well.

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