How to Rent an Apartment When You’re Across the Country
Millions of families move across the country every year. Although moving to an entirely new place can be an exciting adventure, the thought can also be scary and stressful. From my experience, apartment hunting can also be more difficult when you’re on the other side of the country, but these tips should make the process easier.
Know Who You Are Dealing With
When renting an apartment across the country, it is important to know who you are dealing with. It’s best to be in contact with the owner or landlord, but if that isn’t possible, you should look at reputable online marketplaces where a platform is offered for owners to list their properties. Though there are no guarantees, you can find reviews on the marketplace and agents who are known to be reliable.
Don’t Jump at Too Generous Offers
Always use common sense when searching for great deals on apartments. If you see a beautiful Hartford County, Maryland apartment for just $500 a month, it’s likely a scam. Do some research on the average price of apartments in certain locations and keep that in mind while you’re searching.
Don’t Send Money Through Unsecured Means
You should always use payment services that have tracing features when paying for your apartment, whether it is for the rent itself or a deposit. You can easily be scammed if the scammer knows that you are moving across the country. Use credit cards, PayPal, or wire transfers to a bank account so you can track the payment. Also, you can often pay directly through the apartment rental website.
Ask For Detailed Information
Make sure to ask for pictures, videos, floor plans, and other detailed information about the apartment. That way, even if you are not able to visit the apartment in person, you can still get as much information as if you were physically there. Legitimate real estate websites and companies should have lots of details about apartments they are listing for rent.
Another tip is to do a background check on the real estate agency or owner you are dealing with. Real estate agencies usually have legal certifications posted on their websites which show legitimacy. Don’t just blindly trust the agency’s own website though- do your own research as well to make sure the agency is accredited
Check the Reviews Left on the Apartment
Apartment complex websites often have reviews for their homes, or you can go to websites that specialize in apartment reviews. These have comments by people who have actually stayed in specific apartments, thus giving you an idea about whether it is a good fit for you or not. The reviews talk about the location, owner, and include other useful information about the apartment. Though it is possible to fake reviews, you can usually identify them because they are often very impersonal, short, and lack details. There are even some with comments that do not match the information given about the apartment, which is definitely a clue something is wrong.
Most of all, make sure to trust your instincts and use common sense. If you keep these things in mind your cross-country apartment hunt should be a breeze.
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