The internet is the information highway and is used by millions of people everyday to look for information on the widest spectrum of subjects including houses for rent. The days of searching for rental homes in the classifieds of your local paper, grabbing phone numbers off of for rent signs as you drive by or by using a property management company are coming to a quick end thanks to the internet.
There are several advantages to searching online for house rentals including: Time - You search when you have time at anytime day or night for as long as you want.
Information - You can gather so much more information on a home rental website that you can't in a paper. Pictures, amenities and in the case of at least one website alerts when new rental properties are listed in the area you are searching for. That's akin to someone calling you when an ad was placed that had a house for rent in your area. I don't think the newspaper community has that as an option yet.
Communication - With traditional means you have a phone number and usually that's all. Online you can contact the person by phone or email which again allows you to respond at your convenience not when you can “get someone on the phone". This also will allow some level of invisibility during your search since you are usually only limited to giving them an email address and whatever information you choose to. A great tip here is to create a free account before conducting searches then your personal email won't be compromised.
Perks - Some home rental sites have added features such as finding local services like movers, employment agencies and even finding a roommate so your search can truly be a one-stop affair.
So what are the steps to finding a house for rent online? Simple, the same steps you take finding them in a paper . . . well maybe a bit simpler.
Location - You've got to know what area you are wanting to move to before you begin or you'll be spinning your wheels. If you know a general section of town or even the town, most online rental home listings provide a map function that allows you to see where a property is located within a city.
House, Condo, Townhouse, Duplex - Determine what kind of dwelling you are looking for. Consider the upkeep, privacy, space, parking and outdoor options. You may be a backyard person and if so then a condominium probably won't be an option for you.
Amenities - What features must you have? Pool? 2-car garage? Covered patio? By searching online and viewing photos you can not only find the right feature but you might even be able to determine if the pool is big enough for your rubber duck floaty.
Terms - What is the deposit? What is the minimum length of the lease agreement? These are more questions can be answered in either the listing itself or by contacting the property manager. Again an easy way to search several properties without having to place 10 calls and wait for 10 call backs.
These are simple steps, as you move thru the process you will find yourself adding more questions to the equation but by doing a search for rental homes online you will find that process a much easier one than the process used, “back in the day".
Mark Stone writes for FindHomeRentals.com a website that lists houses for rent throughout the United States.