Finding an Apartment: Classifieds

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Finding an Apartment: Classifieds

Staff Writer · Aug 10, 2010

It’s an “old school” way of finding a place to live, but searching the apartment classifieds is still one of the most widely used methods used by renters. People are creatures of habit, and landlords have listed apartments in classifieds for ages. The smart phone with its apartment search applications, apartment hunting websites and newer ways to list apartments do compete with the local newspaper and other classifieds, but they won’t replace it for a long time coming. For that reason, you’ll need to incorporate it in your apartment search strategy.

What Classifieds to Check

You main focus should be the apartment classifieds in your local newspaper. The good news is you don’t have to subscribe to it or pay for it to view the classifieds. Many newspapers will post that section on it’s online version for you to search through. It makes your search go a lot faster and you save money because you don’t have to buy the paper everyday. Those costs add up when you’re searching multiple cities, and you may not be able to buy the local newspaper anyway if you’re moving long distance.

Alternative Publications for Apartment Classifieds

On your next trip to a major supermarket, collect all forms of free classifieds and take a look through them. These are found in stands outside the doors, inside the store near the exists or at the customer service desk. Some publications are full of real estate properties listings for sale and for rent. Other publications include all kinds of classifieds, but they may also list apartments available for rent. It’s a good idea to search them all and hold on to the publications that have leads. Shopping plazas and malls may have free publications for you to pick up as well.

Strategies for Searching Apartment Classifieds

Looking through the classifieds is straightforward. You should know beforehand what you’re looking for, such as price and number of bedrooms. Apartment classifieds may or may not include rent price, which means you’ll have to call to find out what it is. Have your cell phone handy or home phone when going through the classifieds to call landlords. Depending on where you’re looking and whether it’s moving season, apartments can go fast. As you’re waiting for the phone to ring or in between calls, you can place a star next to the listings you’re interested in, and follow up as soon as you’re done with the call you make.

Key Questions to Ask

Landlords have only a limited amount of space to list the details in apartment classifieds. You’ll have to ask more questions when you call. Ask these key questions to determine whether it’s an apartment that you want to pursue:

  • What are the amenities?
  • Who pays for utilities? If it’s the renter, what can you expect for monthly bills?
  • Are pets allowed? Is there a pet deposit or pet rent? Is having a pet negotiable?
  • Can you rent with a roommate?
  • What’s the address?

When you get the full address, which is sometimes not listed in the classifieds, drive by during the day and then at night if you can. It will give you a good idea of the neighborhood.

Be sure to include apartment classifieds among the other ways of finding an apartment. It may have the apartment you want.

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