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When should I fly to SF to find an apartment?
March 26, 2008 7:19 AM   Subscribe

When should I fly to SF to look for apartments available in July? Also, where should I look?

My family (girlfriend and infant) and I are moving to the bay area this summer. We're probably moving in July and want to look at some apartments. In Pittsburgh, where I live now, you can generally look at apartments up to 6 months before you want to move in, but based on my craigslist searches, it seems that apartment availabilities are only posted ~1 month in advance. Is this generally true?

Also, we're probably looking to move somewhere close to Mountain View. I'll be working there and we don't want to live in SF, yet. In particular we're looking at MV, Redwood City and San Mateo. We're open to other suggestions, though. Any advice on a family friendly (but also fun, we're still in our 20's!) and Mountain View-proximate place to live?
posted by zpaine to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Every apartment I've gotten in the bay area has been because I saw a Craigslist ad one morning - the first morning it was posted - and went to see it with credit report and check in hand.

In the south bay you can avoid some of this by renting from the big corporations like Avalon. They have a complex at 1600 Villa in Mt View, for starters.
posted by kcm at 7:42 AM on March 26, 2008


yeah really in the Bay Area its pretty much get there when you're ready to rent.

craigslist rocks.

If you're going to be in Mountain View I'd look at Palo Alto - Menlo Park Area (if you can afford it) before Redwood City and San Mateo.

Need more details - you looking for Single Family Home? Apartment? What do you like to do?
posted by bitdamaged at 8:40 AM on March 26, 2008


We're looking for a 2 bedroom apartment or townhome.

In terms of "stuff to do" we aren't very demanding. The highlight of our week in terms of nightlife is getting a baby sitter and going to a bar for an hour or two. Maybe a movie. We don't eat out much, but do enjoy it.

Having a farmer's market and/or park nearby would be a plus.
posted by zpaine at 9:22 AM on March 26, 2008


Most SF/Oakland proper apartments are for immediate move-in; sometimes you can negotiate the move-in date to be later, but I've rarely seen postings that advertise listings further out than 30 days. So yes, this is generally true.

It may seem gauche, but if you provide the monthly budget you've allocated for rent, people will be able to make concrete suggestions. (talking about or asking how much one is paying in rent is pretty common in the bay area). You should probably also mention where you'll be commuting to and how you plan to do it (car, caltrain, etc).
posted by fishfucker at 10:41 AM on March 26, 2008


Most SF/Oakland proper apartments are for immediate move-in; sometimes you can negotiate the move-in date to be later, but I've rarely seen postings that advertise listings further out than 30 days. So yes, this is generally true.

Wow! Thanks for pointing this out. I guess given that we should probably plan on flying out in mid to late June if we want a July rental. We were worried that if we waited too long to check places out, the market would be pretty sparse.

We're thinking that $2500 is probably our ceiling in terms of rent. Based on craigslist, that doesn't seem unreasonable for a 2BR.

I'll be commuting to Mountain View. I'm willing to drive, but public transportation would be a perk.
posted by zpaine at 12:58 PM on March 26, 2008


well, please don't change travel plans based on my anecdotal assessment of (recent -- we just completed a move in Oakland) rental conditions.

I only have experience looking for apartments (never houses) and always in either SF, Berkeley, or Oakland, where it is usually the norm to see a place and agree to take it the same or next day. Still, these areas can be very different beasts from the South Bay/SJ area, and you might actually do well to repost this question next week specifying that you are looking in the mountain view area rather than SF proper. You might also try posting to Hacker News; which has a userbase with a large number of young, technical, south bay/mountain view folk.

do keep in mind that rents are rising in the bay area; while I doubt you will see much difference between April/May and July, you might.

But yeah, effectively the bay area rental market means you almost always get forced into paying double rent just about anytime you want to move.
posted by fishfucker at 1:29 PM on March 26, 2008


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