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Property for Rent in San Francisco: 5 Tips for Finding Your Dream Rental Property

property for rent san francisco

Over 935,000 people live in San Francisco! Are you getting ready to join them? If so, it’s time to start figuring out how to choose a rental property for you to call home.

Finding property for rent in San Francisco isn’t easy. There are a lot of options, but good homes go quickly! We’re here to help you out.

Read on to learn our top five tips for how to fin a rental property in San Francisco.

1. Make a List of Wants and Needs

When you’re getting ready to find a rental property in San Francisco (or anywhere, for that matter), you need to start with a list of “wants” and a list of non-negotiables. These lists will help you narrow down your options early on.

Be thorough. Even if you’re on a budget, you’re allowed to look for an apartment that meets your needs. There are plenty of things that someone may not be able to go without, even if they seem “extra” to someone else.

For example, while studios are fantastic little apartments, someone who works from home may not want a studio because they may struggle to separate their “work” space from their “home” space. That may be a non-negotiable for you.

On the other hand, your “wants” will be more flexible. They’ll be things that would be nice to have in an apartment, but if you have to go without them for a year or so, it won’t be a huge problem.

An example of a “want” may be something like wood floors. Wood floors look great and are easy to clean, but many apartments have carpet or laminate floors. If an apartment is otherwise perfect, it’s unlikely that the lack of wood floors will influence your decision.

Things to consider when you’re making these lists include (but are not limited to):

  • Square footage
  • Parking
  • Outdoor space
  • Allows pets
  • Certain appliances (laundry, dishwasher)
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Storage space

Keep this list with you while you’re browsing apartments online and when you’re visiting the apartments in person.

2. Keep Your Budget in Mind

It’s no secret that San Francisco real estate is expensive. Make sure you know your budget and that you’re ready to stick within it, especially if you plan on renting through a property management company rather than an independent landlord.

Generally speaking, it’s a good rule of thumb for your rent to not cost more than one-third of your monthly income (though some households have to stretch this).

Remember that you may also be paying for some utilities and parking depending on the specific lease terms for the property. You will also be paying a security deposit in addition to your first month’s rent, which will be more money.

If you’re moving all of your things with you, you also have to pay for that. Even if you’re moving a short distance, you’ll likely either be paying for a moving truck or paying actual professional movers.

If you plan on buying new furniture for your new apartment, that also has to be factored in.

The first month in a new apartment is always the most expensive, but you still need to keep those expenses in mind when you’re making your budget.

3. Pick the Right Neighborhood

Have you put any thought into what neighborhood you want to live in? If you’re moving to San Francisco for the first time, acquaint yourself with neighborhoods before you start choosing apartments. Make sure the neighborhood has all of the amenities that you need.

For example, parents of small children may want to look at the closest schools as well as local playgrounds and parks. They may also want to consider the neighborhood safety rating.

Often, the neighborhood you live in can dramatically influence your overall experience of being in a certain city. San Francisco is no exception. If you love your neighborhood, you’ll love your life!

This is even more important if you rely on public transportation to get around. If you don’t have a car, you’ll be spending far more time navigating your neighborhood.

4. Read Listings Carefully

When you finally start looking at apartment listings online on all of your favorite sites, make sure you read them all carefully. Often, these listings are full of pre-screening information that lets you know whether or not you’d be a good applicant for that specific apartment. You may also get information about the apartment that would make you more or less likely to choose it.

For example, the photos of the apartment may be taken in such a way that it looks spacious, but the listing may say that the square footage is smaller than you’re willing to rent.

On the other hand, the photos may be poor quality and the apartment may look small and dark, but the description may reveal that it actually has far more space than meets the eye.

5. Make a List of Questions for Visits

Now it’s time to start visiting apartments. It’s always best to visit an apartment in person before you rent as long as you’re able to do so. If not, ask about a virtual tour.

Make a list of questions to bring with you for the landlord or apartment manager. Anything that’s not immediately obvious in the photos or the listing can go into this list of questions.

For example, you may want to ask about the cost of laundry in the building (if applicable).

Find the Best Property for Rent in San Francisco

Finding a good property for rent in San Francisco isn’t easy, but these tips can help you narrow down your options. You deserve to live in a home that makes you happy. Don’t settle for less than the best!

Are you looking for an apartment or home for rent in the Bay Area? We want to help! Check out our available properties today.

Alternatively, are you a property owner thinking about renting out your property? We want to help you as well. Learn more about our services and let’s start working together!