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Last updated: November 12, 2021 • Real Estate Investing

9 Tips on How to Find Your Next Apartment Fast

While most people can usually afford to look for a new home for some time, there are certain exceptions when you have to act quickly and don’t have the luxury of spending weeks hunting for a perfect rental. 

A new job in a different state, problems with roommates — there are plenty of reasons you might find yourself in this situation. 

One thing is definite: you have to find a new rental as soon as possible.

Luckily, experience shows that it is absolutely possible to find a new home and sign a lease in mere days. To make it easier for you and take some weight off your shoulders, we prepared a list of the best tips for tenants who need to rent a new apartment yesterday.

Make the Most Out of Your Smartphone

close women hands

It’s a crime not to use all the perks of modern technology, especially, when you find yourself in a situation like this. Thankfully, these days you can find plenty of useful apps for any renter. Some you can use to search for a new home while you’re commuting to work or standing in line in a grocery store. Others will be a great replacement for checking out what is located in your neighborhood when you don’t have much time to explore the area on foot before making a decision. If you need an apartment ASAP, every minute counts, so try to sort out as many things as possible with these app choices. 

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Social Media

Although it might usually seem that only tenants search for a new apartment or room, there are plenty of landlords and fellow renters who might be looking for a person like you at this exact moment. When you’re trying to find a new home ASAP, you should use all the possible options, rather than sadly scrolling through Craigslist for a few hours a day.

Sometimes, the best offer comes to you — although you still have to be a little bit proactive for this. Write a short post on Facebook or Instagram to let your connections know that you’re in need of a new place. Maybe one of your friends or old acquaintances will actually get back to you or repost your inquiry, and more people will see it. 

To make sure you’ll get only relevant offers, include a few details about your desired place — the location, your budget, and any other points you might find particularly crucial about your future home. And, make sure to post in a few apartment-hunting groups as well!

Make a List of the Rental’s Top Features

seated woman looking through job listing

Whether you search for a rental in a hurry or have all the time in the world to find your next home, having a list of must-have and nice-to-have features will make your quest a good deal easier. 

There are too many things to keep in mind when you have an apartment tour and too many questions to ask, so it is a great idea to write down the things that would be the most important for you in a rental. It could be an air conditioner, a washer in the building, or an extra room you could turn into a home office.

First of all, this list will help you quickly weed out all the places that might seem nice at first glance but turn out to be entirely not what you’re looking for as soon as you come to check it out. What’s more, this list will make it easier for you to compare those rentals you really like and make an educated decision.

Limit Yourself to a Few Neighborhoods

modern residential house street

Sometimes, if you’re in a hurry to find a new rental, it might seem like a good idea to search all around the city for the apartment. After all, it gives you more options and, therefore, a higher chance to find a new home fast, doesn’t it?

The fact is, in this situation, it’s better to limit your choices and stick to those areas you think are the most suitable for you. Maybe it’s the neighborhood you live in right now — if you love it so far, search around there and some of the nearby areas. Or, it could be a neighborhood closer to your workplace. You might have your own preferences and reasons, but the only advice we want to give you is not to expand your search area too far. This will narrow down the number of pages you have to scroll through and save you lots of time going on apartment tours all around the city.

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Arrange Tours Wisely

There are a few main suggestions to keep in mind when you decide to start scheduling apartment viewings. First of all, if you know that everything has to be done fast, make sure to call brokers and landlords instead of writing emails or scheduling tours via their respective websites. That will speed up the process significantly, especially if you do it within business hours. 

Try your best to organize as many showings as possible on the same day or two days (it might even be a good idea to ask for a few hours off at your work if needed). This way, you can save some time and not go to check out a new rental every day for a week or two. Also, you can compare all the apartments you’ve seen today and make a decision fast instead of wondering how good another place is which you’re supposed to look at in a few days. Small tip — if you’re looking at multiple places, write down the main features and pros and cons of each rental during the tour so you won’t mix apartments up as soon as you get home.

Be Flexible

business woman sitting on sofa working

Let’s face it, a perfect rental that would meet each of your requirements simply does not exist. Even if you spend a few months searching for an ideal place, you’ll most probably have to tolerate at least one thing that wouldn’t be close to perfect. Nosey neighbors, a long commute, or a shower instead of your sought-after claw-foot bathtub — this happens to the best of us.

Keep flexibility especially in mind if you know you don’t have much time to shop around. If you found a decent place with a few little flaws, it is certainly worth considering signing a lease instead of asking the landlord for a few more days to make your decision. After all, there are other tenants to consider in the equation, and you might end up losing a good enough rental if you don’t act immediately. 

This is where the list of must-have amenities will come in handy again — if you see that the place checks off all the most important boxes and you feel good about the rental and the landlord, it might be best to sign the lease without overthinking.

Have Your Documents Ready

If you have to make a decision quickly, showing up to a house with all the necessary paperwork might be one of the best actions to help you secure a new rental. Most landlords would require to see your ID (make sure to make a copy as well), social security number, proof of employment, a few references, and a list of past addresses. On top of that, make sure that you have enough money to pay for the first month of rent and a security deposit. 

We would advise you not to bring cash, especially straight to the apartment showing. You can agree with the landlord or property manager to deliver it later the same day, or, even better, opt for more trackable ways of paying, such as a bank transfer or check. It’s 2021, so, thankfully, paying by cash won’t be all that common. 

Turn to an Agent or Rental Company

It might be a good idea to hire a professional who would help you with your search in certain cases. Real estate agents know the market and the properties right now, so it can be a good investment, especially if you are moving to a new city. What’s more, they usually have access to more listings than just those you can find on various rental websites.

Pay attention to the type of agent you’re hiring, as most of them still specialize in buying or selling real estate instead of the rental market. Also, discuss the fee upfront — while it’s the landlord who has to pay the commission for an agent in some markets, usually it will have to be covered by a tenant. And, of course, even if you decide to cooperate with a broker or real estate agent, don’t stop looking for a home yourself!

Talk to Your Friends or Family

happy girls working together

If you feel like the whole idea of being left without a place to live adds tons of anxiety and irrational fear to your life, it might be best to take care of that before dealing with anything else. Think about what would happen if you’re not able to find an apartment by the time you move out from your old rental, and what the chances of that are. Let’s be honest — they are not that high at all. 

But, to feel even more confident, resort to your friends and relatives to see where you could store some of your belongings or even stay for a week or two in case of an emergency. Knowing that your situation is not at all hopeless and you won’t end up on the streets will bring some much-needed peace to your life.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to find a rental you’ll be happy with in no time. Remember to stay focused and cool-headed, and try to make the process as efficient as possible. Good luck on the hunt!

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