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Author Topic: Renting an apartment sight-unseen?  (Read 485 times)

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Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Renting an apartment sight-unseen?
« on: May 15, 2012, 09:10:53 PM »
Yeah.

Mr. Trieste and I are going to be moving to the area where I have been accepted to grad school! Yaaaay! The only problem is that I don't have family in the immediate area (which is shocking, really, given that I have family all over the country ::)) and I don't know anyone who lives there. I'm shying away from private renters, since my worst fear is getting scammed, getting there, and finding out that the apartment we leased wasn't for lease, or wasn't there.

The people on here generally have really good ideas, so I thought I'd throw up a topic and ask for advice.

Offline Elina

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Re: Renting an apartment sight-unseen?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 09:18:50 PM »
I'd consider using a rental agency or an apartment locator agency.  Ask lots of questions about the promotions they are getting to steer you to a particular place so you know what their motivations and biases are.

Offline Blitzy

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Re: Renting an apartment sight-unseen?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 09:27:42 PM »
I moved from Florida to Minnesota on only pictures of an apartment complex. Nothing else. It was scary as hell. The bonus was that the apartment complex allowed us to have a 6 month lease. If nothing else, see if the place you're looking at has a shorter rental period so that you can leave once you know the area. I had planned on staying in that apartment only for that length of time, give me time to get used to the city, and to figure out what areas were good and which weren't.

You can also call the local police department and they should be able to give you some ideas on what are good and bad areas to move into. For the PD I work for you have to ask for the records department and they can give you crime statistics and such. If all else fails, that might be another good place to start. They'll have the least unbiased opinion and more by the numbers.

Offline stormkitten

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Re: Renting an apartment sight-unseen?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 09:34:40 PM »
Rental agencies are great... sometimes you can talk to someone at the college (usually the administrator in charge of dorms) and they can point you toward reliable and near by apartment locator agencies. Most companies have pictures, and can ask for recently time stamped

As annoying as it is, if the person you are renting from does not want to run a background check or credit check, I would be leery of a scam

If you can afford it... a weekly rate hotel room might be a great way to go to see apartments before making a commitment. Making reservations with the hotel and make several appointments to see apartments in the week or two.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Renting an apartment sight-unseen?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 09:36:41 PM »
Google Earth/Maps 

If Google took pictures of it that's where they'd be.

Offline NileGoddess

Re: Renting an apartment sight-unseen?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 12:15:22 AM »
I rented from something of a private renter who just owned one building, but ran it very professionally like you would see in a large company. I've heard both good and bad when it comes to the large companies; on one hand, they have more selections, are likely better organized, and are probably more available, but on the other, their service might seem sub-par, or their units may be sub-standard.

Personally, I'd avoid a private contractor that advertises through craigslist, or just has a sign out in front of something like a house or a duplex. I've heard all kinds of stories that involve the manager being a prick to downright un-liveable apartment units. Part of that though is always a gamble, regardless of where you rent.

My suggestion would be to find out what companies there are that rent buildings. That would be your safest bet, though they might have some strict leasing requirements, like signing a 12 month lease or not allowing moving during winter months.

Offline Aiden

Re: Renting an apartment sight-unseen?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2012, 01:03:56 AM »
When you do find a place.

Take pictures of the place then mail them to yourself via Certified mail and leave it unopened. Having a post marked set of photos of the place before you moved in will help later in the event your deposit is in contention by your landlord.



Offline Observing Trifles

Re: Renting an apartment sight-unseen?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 10:53:20 PM »
Like Beguile's Mistress, I would also recommend using Google Maps/Earth to check out the area if you can. If you're looking for apartments, try checking out ApartmentRatings.com to see if there are any complexes in the area with decent ratings. Obviously you'll find some bias there, but it can at least give you an idea of what kind of problems the complexes may have, if any.