You can rent a house or an apartment both privately or through an agent; however, the former requires more research and hard work as compared to the latter.
When renting privately, the best place to start your search for a home or apartment to rent is the internet. There are a number of websites that offer lists of rentals for free. Simply filter the listings according to your state, city and desired price range, and browse through all the available rentals listed, starting with the most recent one. You can also check newspapers, real estate publications and all other sources that might provide rental listings. The more options you have, the higher your chances of finding a rental as per your preferences.
Another option is to ask your friends and family members to help you find a place to rent; however, do not forget to let them in on your requirements and budget limit. You can also take a drive around the area where you want to live, to look for houses or apartments that are up for rent. Owners usually put “For Rent” boards in their front lawns or on their front windows, and these will help you identify which houses are open for rent.
Once you have found some places that you like, make appointments with the landlords to view the houses/apartments in person. This will not only allow you to conduct a detailed survey of the place you want to rent, but will also give you the opportunity to meet the owner of the property, with whom you can discuss the terms and conditions before making a decision. It is recommended that you make at least three appointments before you go to see houses for rent. Even if the first one seems to be perfect, make sure you go and see the other two, as this will help you compare the prices, and you will be able to make an informed decision after having seen all the options available.
However, dealing with private landlords directly, when looking for a place to rent, can be strenuous and confusing, so it is always a better choice to contact letting agents who can help you in finding a place of your choice. Hiring the services of a letting agent may cost you a few hundred dollars since you need to pay the agent’s fee. However, in some countries like Ireland, viewing properties through agents is completely free. Potential tenants do not bear any additional costs for viewing houses or apartments that are being marketed through estate agents; instead, the fees and cost of the agent are paid by the landlord who owns the rental.
Set up a time to see the property, and if you like the place, fill out a lease request. You need to mention your name, current address, social security number, and current job in the lease request form. Remember, mentioning a job or offering proof of income is necessary, otherwise you will not be able to find a place to rent.