Previously we talked about becoming financially prepared to move, and today we shall discuss searching for the perfect apartment while avoiding scams. Searching for an apartment can be difficult if you don’t use the correct tools and websites. To assist you in locating your next home, here are the top picks for apartment searching.
Zillow is a powerful tool for searching for rentals as well as for those looking to buy a home. With a large database of rentals that include townhomes, condos, and rental houses that most apartment search databases don’t provide. Additionally, you can save searches, check out neighborhood crime rates, and a walkable score. Zillow comes in the form of a phone app which makes searching on the go pretty simple.
HotPads is easy and fun to use. It is a map-based apartment and home rental search board that makes finding an apartment easy to use. As HotPads is owned by Zillow, it includes a walkability score, school attendance zones. With everything you need at first glance, HotPads is fun and easy to use.
Apartments.com is an apartment location database that uses a POLYGON™ search tool allowing searchers to define an area in which to search. Additionally, the plan commute feature proves useful for those that are looking to move with a certain radius of their job. The phone app is very useful and almost easier than using the actual website.
Craiglist is another good way to search for apartments so long as you avoid the scammers. You can look for subleases, apartments, houses, and room shares. Apartments and houses on craigslist tend to go quickly so be prepared to complete the application almost immediately.
Avoiding Scams While Searching
Scammers are always looking for a way to con people out of their hard earned money. Therefore you should be aware of the most popular housing scams. For you provide any money for an apartment or house, verify the owner using public records, drive by the property, and called the phone number at the physical address if available.
If the listing sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be aware of houses with all utilities included, and make sure you know the average price of an apartment or house in the area. Never give your personal information up from such as social security or bank account numbers. Always verify the unit in person before you complete a rental application. Never wire money (Western Union, bank account transfers, Money Gram, etc). If the apartment/house renter asks you to wire the money, it is ALWAYS a scam.
Locating the apartment is the hard part and now that is complete. Qualifying for the apartment, and preparing to move in is the next time. In the next article in this series, we will discuss the completion of the paperwork, and getting ready to move.