A Step-by-step Guide to Finding a Rental Home Quickly and Easily (Part 2)

by Chris Lang on October 24, 2011

How to find a rental property

Today we are moving on to the next steps of my system to find a rental home with no hassle. Steps 1 to 3 are here.

Step 4. Take stock of current rental listings.

This is my own term that you probably won’t find anywhere else. When I say “take stock of current rental listings” I mean that you need to go through all the properties that matched your search criteria and select the ones that look promising to you, the ones that you want to inspect.

This can take a bit of time – depending how many rental properties came up in your search – but you need to do this. It’s a once-only operation, which you won’t have to repeat, so don’t worry – you won’t need to work hard over and over.

Important: make sure you sort the search results by “Newest to Oldest”.

Here is how we take stock. I imagine you are using one of the modern browsers, such as Firefox, that supports tabs. Tabs are important, because you need to open all the rental properties that look promising in separate tabs of the same browser window. When you are finished, you should have one tab with your list of search results, and many other tabs, each showing a property you want to inspect.

How to find a rental property

Step 5. Narrow down your list – select properties by availability.

Any rental listings have an “Available Date” rubric. It either shows a date in the future or says “Now”. Here’s how to use the Available Date to narrow down your list of properties.

The principle is simple – if your desired “move-in” date and the property “available” date are more than 2 weeks apart, you are not likely to get selected as a tenant. Property managers want to minimize the time property is vacant, so if you want them to wait longer before you move in and begin paying rent, your chance of success declines.

So look at the Available Date and close all the tabs with properties that are available either too soon or too late for you.

Step 6. Re-arrange your listings.

Check any of the listings you’ve opened in tabs and you’ll see an “Open For Inspection Times” rubric. Under that rubric you will either see “Inspect by appointment” or an actual date and time when the property is open for inspection. If it says “Inspect by appointment” the agent hasn’t set a day for inspection yet.

Just for ease of use, I check inspection times on all the properties in tabs, and drag those that have OFI (Open For Inspection) times advertised to the left. Properties that have no OFI advertised are pushed to the right. We will begin our “selection of finalists” with the properties that will be open for inspection soonest (located in the tabs on the left). The rest of the listings in tabs on the right will be dealt with later.

To be continued – stay tuned.

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