Resources & Advice for Renting a Property

 

I. Making the choice to rent

For some, renting is their best option at the moment in light of their situation and the housing market in their area. While many choose to rent for poor reasons, like culture, without running the numbers first or being aware of their options to boost their credit scores for free or buy a home without a down payment, others have completely legitimate reasons for renting and it is wise for them to do so. I go over some of the possibilities on my Rent or Buy section, and include a calculator here on the subject. While many think that you need to live somewhere 5 years in order to buy, the appreciation projection for the next year as of December 2021 as well as the recent actual appreciation in the past few years is a case where many are able to make a profit after just a year or 2 without making any changes to the house.

 
Looking at the View

II. Locating a property to rent

A. Standard home rental places to look

While 90+% of listings for sale are online on MLS, a much smaller number (maybe 60%) of renter listings are on MLS. Because of that, it's especially important to use multiple websites in your rental search. Rather than wasting time trying to manually filter through properties every time you return to a website, I recommend getting optimized searches set up on multiple websites with automatic updates as properties hit the market. For any cases where you can get an email notification, but not a text notification, I recommend using this workaround so that you can get text updates in order to be on top of showings in a time when many properties are going very fast.

Here are some links we have used to help people find rentals in the past.

www.zillow.com (high inventory - I recommend starting here)

https://www.airbnb.com/ (includes reviews - more geared toward short term than long term rentals, but don't rule it out)

http://www.apartmentratings.com/ (includes reviews)
ForRent.com (includes reviews)

www.realtor.com (more accurate than many other sites for properties listed by agents showing as being under contract but only includes properties listed by agents on MLS)

https://www.rentcafe.com/apartments-for-rent-near-me/

www.trulia.com (good crime feature built in)

Zumper.com

www.craigslist.com

www.Facebook.com 

www.hotpads.com

B. Unavailable properties listed as available

Typically if a home is listed clearly by an agent on a public website (i.e. Zillow) as available, but is unavailable on Realtor.com, it’s unavailable for rent. If it’s not listed by an agent, it may or may not be available.  On Craigslist, many older listings are unavailable.

C. Short term rentals

If you are looking for a short term rental OR step by step instructions that can apply to a long term rental, click on my section for short term rentals here.  That includes Determinations Prior to Beginning Your Search, Locating a Rental, Crime, Furnishing, & Self-Storage. 

D. Finding commercial property for rent

If you're looking for commercial property to rent, here's a list of locations to look in.

 

III. Miscellaneous

A. Step by step rental instructions

While geared toward a short term rental, even if looking for a long term rental, there are step by step instructions here. 

B. Getting a home to rent when you have bad credit

C. Avoiding fraud

One matter to note when dealing with any landlords directly, which is much more common when considering properties not on MLS, is that it is more important than usual to make sure that everything is documented. For instance, someone in my family had their security deposit taken because they were dealing with a private landlord who did not have as much of a reputation to uphold as a rental company. Because they did not take pictures of their space prior to going there, they had less recourse to win a small claims battle over the security deposit despite the fact that they left the space the way that they found it.

D. There are also a number of questions to ask landlords & property managers prior to submitting an application. 

 

IV. Getting Help

If you'd like help from me personally regarding renting in southeast VA, click here for my fees & further details.