Moving is no picnic. Moving to a new country can be even more difficult. Finding the right accommodation is perhaps one of the more complex tasks for a person who has recently moved to the U.S. The question then is:

  • How to find a place to rent for you and your family?
  • What to look for in an apartment?

Currently the trend is towards declining rents and you may be in a better position to negotiate a lower rent. When rents go up, leasing communities are less flexible about the terms of lease.
Tips to find the right place to rent.

  • Always visit properties on weekends.
  • Renting an apartment in U.S. is easy as there are systematic procedures for visiting properties. You need to set up an appointment before you go. You will save lots of time by doing this.
  • Many communities have large signs displaying ‘Leasing Now’ and welcome walk-in visitors.
  • Most of the apartment communities welcome guests till 5 P.M. You must check the visiting hours of properties that you are eyeing. Weekend hours vary.
  • Call before you go. Usually property managers are always showing apartments and other units to potential residents. If you have an appointment, someone will be there to meet you at the specific time. You will be given a property tour and information about amenities on the property.
  • Hunting for the right home can be frustrating. Some properties may be very beautiful but frightfully expensive. Others may be too far from work or school. The upside is that you get to see many apartment communities and beautiful model homes. Set your priorities before visiting properties. Do you want to live closer to work or closer to school? Do you like communities that welcome pets?
  • Before visiting the property check for the following unit and property features.
    • location, nearness to markets, freeways, and hospitals
    • nearness to place of work or school
    • pet policy
    • air conditioner/heater
    • carpeting/wood floors
    • cable ready
    • dishwasher/microwave
    • extra storage
    • garbage disposal
    • walk in closets/coat closet
    • view from the apartment
    • community laundry room/independent washer/dryer in each unit
    • clubhouse/child care
    • playground/pool/sauna/spa
    • tennis courts
    • onsite management
    • onsite security
    • parking facilities/additional parking
    • The lease is a legally binding agreement. You must read it carefully before signing.
Renting an apartment is a complicated process. At the same time you can actually have fun in the process if you know what to expect. The following figure illustrates the typical home hunting process that people follow.