If you are preparing to move to Los Angeles, for a job or other reason, you are probably not going to be buying outright. You will need to find rental accommodation until you settle in. That in itself can be a stressful experience, especially in a tight market with rising rents.
So how can you prepare? Here are six ways:
- Depending on your price range you will either search online yourself on sites such as Westside Rentals or Craigslist or try and find a Los Angeles Realtor® who will be able to help. If your budget is below $3,000 a month, (the average for Los Angeles is around $2,500 for a two-bedroom) then the former will be more productive. Over that, especially if you are trying to do this long distance, then using an agent is a good idea.
- You can check out the market anytime, but unless you are ready to sign a lease within two weeks then actively looking at properties will be a waste of time as landlords will not hold properties vacant for a month. Of course some properties will be shown earlier than their actual availability. Timing is everything.
- Check out your credit. If it is questionable then you may have to line up a co-signor or guarantor. If you can show funds that will cover at least one year or rent or are prepared to pay several months up front then that may suffice. Each landlord has different expectations.
- Be prepared to pay three months up front – two months of security and one month’s rent.
- If you are out of the area and need to find something before you move to Los Angeles, line up a friend or family member to check out properties you are interested in. If you are in town, don’t waste time in previewing. Good rentals do not stay on the market for long.
- If you are dealing with a Realtor be specific.
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
- How many people will be occupying the property?
- Do you have a pet? Be specific. Many buildings have size and number restrictions.
- Is inside laundry a must? Remember, if you have help a community laundry situation might be fine. That can open up more possibilities.
- How many parking spaces do you need? Most two-bedroom units will have two spaces, but clarify, especially if you need secure parking.
- Be specific about areas. Maybe you need to be in a particular school district. Research that ahead of time because two neighboring homes can be in two different school districts.
Bottom line, it is hard work finding a good rental these days whether you do it alone or with the help of a Realtor. Flexibility, communication and a committed attitude are what will get the job done.
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