Renting Advice
December 9, 2012 11:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm searching for a house to rent with some friends, and I have a few questions.

I live with a few other coworkers in Silicon Valley. Our current lease ends on February 28th. I want to find a larger house with a bigger yard that we can rent together, potentially in the Los Altos area. I have a few questions. Please forgive my completely inadequate grasp on the whole renting process.

- How soon should we start looking and applying for houses in earnest?

- Where should we look? I'm currently looking at Zillow and Craigslist. Do realtors offer houses not shown there?

- I contacted one realtor about a specific house listed on Zillow, and he said he has several people "on the verge of signing the lease, so we'd have to move fast". Does that mean it's essentially a lost cause? Is it even worth following up given we still have 2.5 months before our own lease is up?

(probably irrelevant: we have good credit, stable jobs, etc. Also we want a dog, which is largely the impetus for the move.)
posted by mcav to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would start looking early January.

"on the verge of signing a lease" - I've found this to be a tactic to get you to move on the property faster than you normally would and raise it's "worth" in your mind. Ignore it, although there are actually times when properties get rented before you make your decision.
posted by melt away at 4:07 AM on December 10, 2012

Also, I came to askme in order to ask a question about the current state of sites listing rental properties. I've been out of the country for two years and Craigslist seems to have gotten even worse to sift through.
posted by melt away at 4:08 AM on December 10, 2012

Usually people give 30 days notice, so you'll want to start looking about 45 or so days before the end of your lease. will have rentals listed. During the holidays can be a problem, so you might want to wait until January.

Drive around neighborhoods you like, often folks will put up For Rent signs in their yards (they do in our neighborhood.)

Ask around, post on Facebook, etc. Word of mouth is the best way to find places that will suit you.

You may not have an abundance of inventory to consider, there may only be a few places out there for rent. Cast a wider net, consider more areas.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:52 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can use a Realtor, but they will only be able to show you houses listed as "for rent" on the MLS. That means they can't do much about a listing you find elsewhere, but they'll handle the viewings and all the negotiations for the lease if you do find one that way. (Mine negotiated the rent down $50 just on principle.) They are paid by the leasing realtor, so it doesn't cost you anything to go that route.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:11 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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