Whether you’re just moving here, or you’ve been here for years and know exactly what a mess the housing market in the Bay Area is, you’re going to have a bad time looking to rent in San Francisco. But there are a few things you can do that will make life easier for you and make finding a place to rent here a more palatable process.
Don’t Move In The Summer. Ever.
There are two good reasons for this. First, the obvious one. Everyone else is trying to rent in San Francisco in the summer. That doesn’t mean that the competition is non-existent in January, but it’s somewhat less. You’re getting slightly more attention to you story from the landlord, more than likely, and you’re able to stand out more as an applicant because of it.
The other reason for this is that moving in winter in the Bay Area is really not the horrendous idea that it would be in most of the rest of the country. There is no snow. It’s not actually cold. You’re not slipping on ice trying to move your couch like you would be in Albany, NY (which might as well be the North Pole, on a relative basis).
Organization Is Key
You’ll need the data anyway. You can print a standard application that most landlords will accept. Print it, fill it out, copy it, and then hand sign each copy. Hint, you’ll need lots and lots of copies. Print a credit report from the big three (or all three) bureaus. They’ll want to see it. Do you need a guarantor? You’d better have one ready to go or the landlord will move on to someone who does. Assemble all of this into your portfolio and off you go. You’ve moved up the line a bit.
Did You Know Craigslist Has An RSS Feed?
What’s an RSS feed? It’s an internet file format that can be checked by an app on your phone at regular intervals and alert you to new hits on your Craigslist search. Download a reader that will alert you when there are new items. Do a search on Craigslist, and then get the RSS link (there’s an orange icon on the page that’s pretty obvious, and the link ends in .xml). Copy this link to the reader you just installed.
Then set the reader to refresh every five or ten minutes. Renting in San Francisco really is that competitive, and being the first one to jump on a new ad is likely to give you an advantage. Or make you look like a nut who has nothing better to do than try to please a landlord, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Show The Landlord You’re Responsible
Chances are very, very strong they’re going to require San Francisco, CA Renters Insurance. You’re a better prospect if, when they mention the requirement, you’re able to say “Great, I already have a policy at my current location that I can just transfer.” No, really. It seems like such a small thing, but people who already have renters insurance tend to be people who take responsibility – exactly what a landlord wants. For about fifteen bucks a month, it’s well worth having anyway. But if you can use it to look like a better option to a landlord, why not?
Of All The Hills In This City, Is An Open House The Hill You Want To Die On?
Finding an apartment in San Francisco is enough of a challenge without standing in line for two hours just to get inside and see the place for three minutes. You could be better using that time to, y’know, look for apartments. You’re also catching the landlord at a time he’s positively guaranteed to be annoyed – open houses are no fun for him, either.
Get yourself a private showing. Lie, cheat, steal your way into it. Are you in IT? Tell him there’s prescheduled downtime for a system migration at the time of the open house, and all hands on deck. Whatever your job is, there are crises you can manufacture. Make it believable, and make it sympathetic. Let him know you’re ready to sign a lease on the spot, you just need to see the place for a minute first. Let him know you have cash in your hand for first/security/any other expenses he wants. Make yourself irresistible, and get that private showing.
Then rent the apartment, and be one of the luckiest people in this city.
Rent Today, And Then Never, Ever Leave
Things are on track for rents in San Francisco to increase dramatically, on par with the way the did in the dot com days. Expect well into $3,000+ territory. Do you make $144,000 (4x annual rent) a year? Even if you do, do you want to pay that much? Now is the time. Make sure you stand out as an ideal applicant. Dress well, have your money on hand, and be ready to pounce.
Know Your Budget
And don’t forget it. There are actually landlords out there who will start a bidding war among prospective tenants. If you get caught up in one of these, you could end up in an apartment that’s much more expensive than what was advertised. Knowing your budget also helps you to find an apartment in the Bay Area without wasting your time – or the landlord’s. Never forget that the landlord whose apartment you look at, but can’t afford, will remember you. If next week he has an ad for a place you can afford, he won’t be your biggest fan.
About Effective Coverage
Effective Coverage offers renters insurance in San Francisco and occasional tips for finding the perfect apartment in the perfect city, along with other renters lifestyle articles. If you have the perfect apartment, and need to get renters insurance (loss of use coverage alone is worth it – after a covered loss, that pays for you to stay somewhere else while repairs are being made or while you’re moving), just call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need San Francisco renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
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