Almost everyone has heard of Craigslist, and it definitely has its pros and cons. Some people shy away from Craigslist because they are fearful that the advertisements are bogus. It is important to bring along a friend when checking out the location in person to protect yourself. However, there are some major benefits to craigslist as a source to check out rental properties:
- Photos – most people provide 4 photos for users to look at before bothering to even inquire about the home
- Direct communication with owner – either through email or occasionally by phone, users can typically chat with the owner as opposed to a real estate agent/intermediary
- Bargaining – Most advertisements on craigslist are a bit above what the owner will rent the property for. Users can typically bargain with the owner to reduce the listed price.
- Access to more selections – When dealing with a real estate agent, renters only gain access to the few houses those agents may have for rent. Not to mention the fact that renters are typically not the priority for real estate agents, who have more to gain financially by dealer with sellers/buyers. Craigslist offers a wide variety of possibilities in one easy-to-access, free location.
- As mentioned, always bring a friend with you. Just because Craigslist has some great postings does not mean it does not have some potentially dangerous postings. Be careful who you trust and whose house you step into.
- Remember that real estate agents and property managers do post on Craigslist too. If you see a bunch of listings that say the same thing (often listing offers that seem completely too good to be true), be especially wary.
- If you are look for a specific neighborhood or a specific feature, use the top of the Craigslist page, where you can search for keywords, etc.
Other helpful sites:
Rentals.com and Rentalhomesplus.com are easy to access and very easy to use as far as narrowing the search by amenities, price range, etc. However, be aware that many advertisements are not removed quickly when the homes/apartments are already rented. There are also many location-specific sites to use; however, some request money and most are run by real estate agencies with only a few options.