New Year, New Home?
September 21, 2012 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Bay Area Rental Filter: How hard is it to find a rental house for January 1 in the Bay Area?

Moving to California (we finally decided!) and we have temporary housing until the end of December in Mountain View, CA while we look for a place to rent. To take advantage of this free housing we would like to find a place for January 1, 2013 somewhere in or around Mountain View. Is this going to be difficult or even possible? Do people move out on New Years?

If it matters, we are looking for a 3 bedroom boring suburban house, though we may settle for a town house or maybe apartment and our budget is $3000 to $3400 a month.

posted by saradarlin to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's nothing special about New Years that s going to make more or fewer houses available. Maybe people don't want to move at Christmas, but I doubt this will make any big difference.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:07 PM on September 21, 2012

I don't expect you will will have any more problems for January than any other time EXCEPT for the fact the entire rental market is insane in the bay area right now. You may wish to try some exploratory attempts before that time to get a feel for the market.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 9:28 PM on September 21, 2012

I'm doing a similar move soon and ended up deciding to go for LA over SF due the aforementioned crazy rental market. That said, one thing I learned is to not browse until you're ready to sign the papers. Window shopping is infuriating due to how crazy the turnover is. You can't count on a listing being there for long at all.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:41 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Postings for rentals slow way down as the end of the year approaches. There will be a spike in postings the first Monday after the new year.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:51 PM on September 21, 2012

Maybe there will be less selection, but I think you'll still be able to find something. Unfortunately you won't be able to really know for sure until early December when the January move-in listings start to appear. Be aggressive (lots of listings have a 2-3 day turnover), know what you want before you see it (explore now if you aren't totally sure), and set up a filter alert on padmapper so you can quickly response to new listings.
posted by ilikemefi at 1:34 AM on September 22, 2012

And all the usual Bay Area rental advice applies. Bring your checkbook, have a copy of your recent credit report, don't hesitate to jump on something if you like it.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:54 AM on September 22, 2012

In case this is a concern in yor current city, you can cross "but nobody moves during the terrible January weather!" right off your worry list.
posted by samthemander at 11:15 AM on September 22, 2012

Some thoughts on house renting in the bay area;

Many places are on the market for less than a week. Many places are rented the day they are posted. Some have people willing to give cashier check deposits along with the rental application. You will need to be able to fill out the application and provide the background check payment immediately.

Craigslist is the primary place listings are made. It's infuriating to use.

You may need to be able to provide a cashier's check for the deposit the day you are approved/accepted.

PRINT all craigslist postings you plan to see. It's important to have a record of what was advertised for when you have to argue over maintenance issues.

Make sure you understand the parking situation. ALL apartment complexes lie about this. Most companies that manage rental homes lie about this. Very few Californians park cars in the garage. Just because a street has two car garages, does not mean they will be used. combine that with the fact that we have more than one car per potential driver and you will have parking issues.

$3400 for 3 bedroom house in Mountain View seems low to me. I would have guessed $3900 as the low end. No clue about townhomes/duplexes/apartments.

Townhomes/duplexes/single family home/condo mean very different things here than what I had understood those things to be. Realtors and rental companies will happily interchange them. Google street view was used heavily as many property management companies could not accurately answer the question "Are any of the walls of the home shared or within 5 ft of walls of another home?"

To find my current place; my wife hunted craigslist from 8-10am. I got the list of things to look at and arranged for viewings as soon as possible. I was typically out of the office for 1-3 hours after that looking at places. I looked at 150 places over the course of a month and a half to find the place I am renting now. I lacked a local bank at the time, so had multiple unnamed cashier's checks on hand that could get me to within a $500 of the type of deposit I would need.
posted by fief at 8:35 PM on September 24, 2012

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