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Searching Tips

Timing

Due to the rental market in San Francisco, landlords usually require immediate occupancy. Start looking early and give yourself 3-6 weeks to find housing.

Before your search

Prior to searching for a place to live, you may want to consider the following factors.

  • Safety: Will you feel safe enough walking around the neighborhood at night?
  • Parking and Transporation: Is street parking easily accessible or nearby garage available? If taking public transporation, how far will you need to walk?
  • Are there nearby grocery stores and restaurants?
  • Is the rent more than I can afford? See recommended Monthly expense worksheet to determine monthly expenses.

Use the Insider

Once you find a desirable neighborhood, talk to local business owners in the area as they often have the inside scoop on what is either available or coming available. Look for "Vacancy or "For Rent" signs in windows and in front of apartments in the area. Many owners advertise on site so be sure to bring your cell phone.

Prepare a Personal renters Resume

Often tenants find that making a favorable impression with the landlord gets them ahead of the game. Since most landlords require some sort of application anyway it is best to come prepared.

  • If two of you are looking for a place together, the resume should include a cover sheet with information about the both of you, character references, as well as a photograph of each applicant. This will help potential landlords remember you while making a decision.
  • Most landlords will want to do a background check before renting to a perspective tenant. Having a copy of your credit report available will make life easier for the landlord.
  • Bring your checkbook: If you like what you see, it will help to be the first to offer the landlord a holding deposit, as most landlords are not inclined to "hold" rentals to tenants. Be prepared to pay one months rent as a holding deposit.