When should I start my rental search in a new city?

The timing for your rental search can depend on many factors. If you are currently in a lease you need to determine how much notice a landlord requires to terminate a lease. In most areas, that is 30 days, so it would make sense to start looking about a month in advance. For example, in Seattle, most landlords have a 20 day notice to vacate, and other areas, a 60 day notice is required. If you are working with a local rental expert they will know how much notice is needed and will be able to coach you appropriately.

Should you be looking for an apartment, you can visit the area anytime as apartments will always have units coming available; however, if you are looking for two bedroom townhomes or a house, it is best to look within 30-45 days of your desired move in (unless that area requires a 60 day notice, then you’d look 60-75 days in advance). In places like New York City, brownstone apartments for rent are available immediately, so it is expected that you would start paying rent right away or within 1-2 weeks. Discussing your situation with a local expert and planning your strategy BEFORE booking your travel will insure that you use your visitation trip wisely. You’ll want to give your expert enough time to plan a thorough itinerary. For proper tour planning you should give a minimum of a week’s notice, especially if you would like to receive listings in advance. In some areas a minimum of 24-48 hours in required to set an appointment for a showing.

Working with a local expert has its benefits. If you purchased a rental tour, the expert may send you some rentals currently on the market. This will all depend on how soon you plan on visiting and/or moving. In some areas, rentals are listed in the real estate database (MLS), in other areas, they are found with individual property management companies, craigslist, etc. You will receive listings 2-3 days before your visit so that you can have a sense of what appointments are being made. Most times, the expert’s concern is that the rentals sent earlier may be rented by the time of the tour.

For more information about rental assistance, visit www.porchlightrental.com

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