December 8, 2023
All Real Estate News
Searching for a rental can be overwhelming, and some markets don't have a lot of real estate agents who assist with searching for rental options. In these areas you may be wondering where to begin your search. You could start looking up local property management companies, finding neighborhood social media groups, searching apartment complexes on a map, asking family, friends, and/or co-workers. It can soon feel like a part-time job trying to find a place to rent.
But the wonderful thing about innovation is that when there is a problem, someone comes up with a solution. Rental listing services are developing and expanding. A popular choice is RentCafe.com, which is a service of Yardi Systems (an industry leader in real estate). Rent Cafe sources their rental listings directly from property managers with information like pricing and availability updated daily. We tested the experience on Rent Cafe and were pleasantly greeted with a wizard that walked you through some basic filters like the size of the rental, specific neighborhoods, your budget, if you have pets, on-site/in-unit laundry preference, parking needs, must-have amenities, and even your potential move date. At the end of the wizard the option to not sign-up for an account and just browse to see if Rent Cafe is the right resource for you was one of the reasons we decided to check them out.
The options to sort by best match, price, and rating was nice, but the ability to see an interactive map side-by-side with a list was helpful. Some of the filters that surprised us were being able to narrow down by a house/condo/townhome/student living, search for places with a pool, locate places near public transportation, or even look at places that offer short term leases. Having photos, floorplans, amenity lists, and school zone information on the same page is great.
Game changers were being able to reach out to the property management companies directly for questions or to schedule a tour, and being able to fill out and submit the rental application online.
And we're all about one-stop shops, so it was the icing on the cake to see the ability to search for storage options: self-storage, vehicle storage, even wine storage! Sort by the price, size of the unit, access hours, security cameras/gates, climate-controlled, and parking availability.
Their blog offers information on the best places to live, average rental rates, average renter credit scores, fun things to do around town, most affordable neighborhoods, and even advice on living in apartments with pets.
Finally, the unexpected and unique find were the calculators - specifically the Cost of Living Calculator. This breaks down the salary you would need to live in a different city, the difference in rental rates, and suggested available rentals in both you current city and the city you'd like to move to. The Cost of Living Calculator breaks down the difference in home prices, utilities, food, healthcare, transportation, goods/services, and income - all from the U.S. Census Bureau's latest Cost of Living Index.
Overall, we really enjoyed the suggestion to check out Rent Cafe, and look forward to downloading the mobile app to check out features like paying your rent.
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