Tuesday, June 28, 2016

let's start from the beginning: finding a place to rent in san diego

 Moscato Villa at home

First off, you're moving to San Diego! Yay! Get excited for this fun, tons to do, beautiful city! Secondly, get it in your head right now that you're going to be paying more for rent here for a 500 sq. ft. apartment, than you would for a mortgage for a 2300 sq. ft home in Arizona. Just keep that in mind and don't act weird when you realize the sad truth while house hunting. Finding a "good deal" is either unrealistic or comes at a cost.

Don't get me can find a place for cheap in San Diego. Options include: roomates, moving way up the coast, moving way inland, or skimping on amenities. All four can save you some money. But at what cost? Your privacy or your commute come to mind. You can also find cheap rentals in most neighborhoods, but again you might be sacrificing laundry facilities, parking, AC and heat to name a few.

One thing I learned really fast about the San Diego rental market is that properties go FAST. Super duper sonic fast. Especially if they're in a desirable neighborhood, have parking, AC, laundry, or some other amenity that everyone else and their mom is looking for. 

For instance, I would find something I liked online and send it to my husband through email. Half a day later when he would go to click on the link, it would be removed. The property had already been spoken for. Sometimes it wouldn't even take half a day... the place I would bookmark would be gone in 30 minutes. Things go so fast here! It's the reality of the San Diego rental market in 2016.

 Moscato Villa at Belmont

I would say out of all the websites out there for San Diego rentals, Craigslist and Zillow were my go-to's. Both update constantly throughout the day and you're able to filter the hell out of the search. However! Not all landlords remember to add all of their amenities in to their ad, so you might filter out possible options while trying to narrow the search. *To that end, I would recommend searching with "AC" checked and unchecked for instance. I found multiple places that actually had AC in the unit but the person who posted the ad just didn't click it into the filter section. TRUST ME, it will open up a whole wide world of rental options. Also, as with everything online, be mindful of scams. There's a lot of them out there. If you have a bad feeling or think it's too good to be're probably right. Go with that gut. 

Filters I used for my apartment search in San Diego:  dog friendly, parking, air-conditioning/heat (a lot of places don't have this..welcome to the beach city!), laundry on-site

The other option, which I wish we had done, is to cruise around the neighborhood you like. Once you find the neighborhood you want to be in, drive around the streets for an hour or so. You'd be surprised how many "for rent" signs are up on places not even advertised on Craigslist or Zillow. 

Once I moved in to my place, I was walking my dog that same weekend and stumbled across the cutest bungalows. Not advertised online. Just had a nice sign out front. Cheaper than what I got my place for. Still kicking myself over that one. 

If you're looking for pet-friendly, make sure to ask about the pet rent. A lot of places allow an animal but you have to pay an additional $20-$60/month for that little flea-bag. Keep that in mind when calculating total rent. 

Some rentals include utilities and some don't include anything. Make sure to ask about that if it's not mentioned in the ad. Those bills could tack on an extra couple hundred dollars to your rental price each month. 
 Moscato Villa at home

All I can say is don't stress! You will find something. Just don't settle for something you can't actually see yourself living in for the next six months to a year. It's not worth it. If you want parking, stick it out for parking. Fighting for parallel spots is a total life suck. Also think about the commute. This is San Diego and we have rush hour. You might save money on rent living further out, but you'll make up for that in gas money and time spent sitting on the freeway. Also not worth it. 

Next post I'll delve into neighborhood recommendations for San Diego. I looked at 'em all and can give you some highs and lows to think about! 

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