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Pro Tips on Apartment Hunting in SF

estate agent giving house keys to man and sign agreement in office

Living in San Francisco is dream come true for those who enjoy green spaces, cultural venues, and the nightlife. However, apartment hunting can be a challenge for those who haven’t tried renting in SF.

Here’s how to find the apartment of your dreams.

  1. Decide if you want to rent solo or to get a roommate
    First, decide if you want to rent solo or share the apartment with a roommate. If you have enough cash, you can get a two-bedroom unit and interview potential roommates. Choose someone whose lifestyle and personal habits jive with yours.

    Living solo means that you’ll have to put more money towards rent, but it also means having your own space and privacy.

  2. Choose a neighborhood
    SF is made up of neighborhoods with unique personalities. Choose the perfect match for your lifestyle. Mission District, for one, is among SF’s oldest neighborhoods and is home to some of the city’s trendiest galleries and restaurants. The Castro is known for the gay scene, but it attracts its fair share of non-LGBT residents. Noe Valley is one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods and is an excellent choice for families.

    The incorporation of various living arrangements and lifestyles that make up the SF experience will also influence your choice of neighborhood. Wherever you go, however, you can look forward to sunny weather and friendly neighbors.

  3. Move quickly
    Time is of the essence when you’re looking for houses for rent in San Francisco CA since there’s a huge demand for housing and apartments get occupied easily. The summer months are the busiest time for real estate. Things slow down in the fall and winter – you might get a better deal then.

    Since properties don’t stay in the market very long, you should contact landlords immediately. However, it is not advisable to reach out to a leasing agent more than 45 days before your move-in date. The apartment hunting and approval process only takes a month or so, and you can get approved in as little as 72 hours so be ready to move in when you start looking.

  4. Beware of scams
    Application fees can lend themselves to scams. Newcomers might sign a lease on an apartment, only to find out that the space has already been rented to someone else weeks prior. You should also look out for bogus listings and landlords asking for money without letting you see the place.

    Avoid scams by looking for reputable apartment listing sites.

  5. Ask if the apartment is pet-friendly
    If you have pets or plan to adopt, you’ll need to verify if the apartment you want is pet-friendly. There are apartment buildings that prohibit the bringing of pets, while others have pet-friendly policies. When it comes to properties that don’t specify whether or not they’re pet-friendly, your best bet would be to approach private landlords, who are usually more willing to negotiate. Professionally-managed buildings tend to be stricter with their no-pet policies and can be nearly impossible to negotiate with.
  6. Set a budget
    San Francisco real estate rentals are not cheap – you can expect to fork over $2,500 to $3,000 on an apartment – so make sure you know what you can afford before you start looking at apartments. Create a monthly budget so that you know how much you’ll be spending on food, transport, entertainment, and other expenses.

Read More:

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best San Francisco Neighborhoods for Renters
5 Qualities of a Good Landlord
Top Six Apartment Amenities Renters Can’t Resist