How to Rent a Housing in the USA: Step-by-step instruction
So, you have received the long waited Green Card and are moving to America. As with any relocation, a new life begins with a new home. How to get the budget for the rent, what kind of housing to choose, and most importantly, how to find a good one? Let us tell you what steps to take.
Choose a city and find out the cost of rent
First, you need to decide on the area where you would like to live. Then decide how much you can afford to pay for the rent. This will be your base from which you can decide whether to rent an apartment separately or share it with someone.
A good website to help you indicate the average cost of housing by the district is RentoMeter: https://www.rentometer.com/. It has rental price statistics in most US cities.
Decide whether you will use the services of a real estate agent or find accommodation by your own
A real estate agency is a good way to save time and find the best option. But there is one nuance to know. Who pays the agent? You or the landlord?
In New York, for example, you have to pay an agent for his services. How much? One monthly rent. That is, if the rent is $2000, you will have to pay them an extra $2000 for their services.
But in small cities with this may be just the opposite. Under the rules of many states, the services of a realtor are paid by the landlord. That is why it is OK to use the services of real estate search specialists - they select suitable variants, arrange viewing of apartments and explain the terms of the rent agreement.
Ask the expat community to help you
An easy and cheap way to find an apartment is to write on Facebook in expat groups that you are looking for an apartment in the area. It is likely that one of your fellow countrymen is looking for neighbors.
Use special websites
The best websites to find homes in the U.S. are:
https://airbnb.com . The main tool to find accommodation for a short term. You can use it upon arrival, in order to settle down immediately, and start searching for a long term option.
https://www.craigslist.org/ . The most popular advertisement board in the USA. There you can find options for rent, but there are some scammers and you need to be very careful. The key to success in Craigslist search is to check for updates on the site every day. You should be the first to notice and use the best offer.
https://www.forrent.com/. The main advantage of this website is that it provides detailed information about apartment buildings. You can see not only what is in the apartment itself, but also all the benefits of the building.
https://www.apartmentguide.com/ . A quality resource with detailed filters for finding accommodation and with online tours, videos and photos for most objects.
Alternative: contact the property management company
Large apartment buildings in 99% of cases are managed by property management companies. Usually, the company's advertising is located at the entrance to the complex. Or you can simply google for "property manager" and the name of the city where you want to rent an apartment. Call these contacts, and ask if they have any apartments for rent.
In order to rent housing in such complexes, you need to have a decent credit history and a stable income. Each company has different conditions, but usually it is necessary to earn an amount 3 times more than the rent of housing. That is, if the rent is $1000 per month, you should earn $3000 per month and be able to prove it.
Important tips for renting accommodation in the U.S.
(*)In America, most of the landlords take a security deposit: the money that the landlord holds for the entire time of your rent. Most often, the security deposit is equal to 1 month of rent. So you need to be ready to pay for the first month, plus the security deposit. You can get it back when you move out of the apartment and leave it in the same condition as it was when you started living there. If there is any damage to the property, the money will be taken from the deposit. (*) Always sign a lease agreement that contains all the terms and conditions of your lease: when exactly you have to pay, what the amount of late payment penalty is, what you are responsible for and what the landlord is responsible for. Even if you are renting a room, sign a contract that includes all the details. (*) Pay the rent only after the agreement is signed. (*) Do not trust the ads offering luxury apartments at below-market prices. (*) Take a photo of all broken or damaged things at the check-in. It is important, because you may lose your security deposit because of missed little details. (*)Talk about the changes you can make in the apartment.(*) Discuss the conditions of returning the deposit.