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Renting a Home after The Move to America

04 June, 2014 08:04  Erin Erin

At EasyExpat we provide the latest and greatest in expat news, but sometimes a personal journey can best explain the unique challenges and triumphs involved in moving abroad. Meet Molly and follow along on her adventure in the Move to America.

finding rental move to americaLuckily, at the time of my emigration to the U.S. in October 2013, my husband had been flat-sharing with a friend for a while, so we did not have to worry about organising a place to live whilst still apart or going through the visa process. It made my move much easier as I had a place to settle upon my arrival.
We are looking to move into our own place (to rent) at some point in the future, and have researched a bit about what may be required. In order to help anyone planning a move to America, here is what I have found out so far when finding a place to rent (it has mostly been very similar to what I did in the UK when looking for a flat).

Where to Find Available Properties

Using internet searches and property company websites provide a quick and easy way to compare prices and amenities giving an idea of what to expect when looking within a particular budget or area.

It can also provide you with detailed information about what household bills, if any, are included in the rent (gas, water, garbage disposal, heating etc, may be included in the rental price - usually they offer one or two of these bills).

Also look in EasyExpat's classifieds for the USA and classifieds abroad

Visit Properties and Potential Areas

Actually visiting a potential area, particularly if it is new to you, is a really good idea as you get to see if it would be suitable for your needs. For example, I do not drive so I require a location that has most amenities within walking distance.

Visiting the offices within apartment complexes is also useful as you get to find out about moving in specials or any offers that are currently running (sometimes they waive the application fee or offer a discounted first months rent to get people moving in). It is also worth asking what the laundry situation is as some will provide a washer/drier in the property, or have an onsite facility that you can use.

What to Expect When You Find a Property

Once you find a place you would like to rent, the next stages are fairly simple when dealing direct with the leasing office/landlord. The first step is to fill out an application form, which usually comes with a fee - this fee can be anywhere between $10-$50, but prices are set by the individual property management/landlord so it is worth checking out first. This may include an in-house credit check.

The application form asks for information which may include your current address, current landlord contact details, employer information including income, a brief outline of previous rental history - like if you have ever been evicted or broken a lease/rental agreement - social security number and/or driver license/ID.

After the form is completed and paid for, the application is processed - which may include collecting a reference from a previous, or most recent, landlord. If notification of an approval is then received, a lease agreement will be signed and a security deposit (usually equivalent to one month's rent) will then need to be paid along with the first month's rent.

Once everything is paid for and signed, you get to move in!

Generally, I have found the process much the same as it was in the UK when I was renting, but it is worth noting that there does seem to be more deals available. I never encountered this when I was in Britain, so that has been the main difference I have noticed so far.

Top Tips for finding renting in the USA

If I was to give any quick advice about the property search, I have compiled the following top tips:

  • Research prices to give you an idea of budget
  • Decide what your needs are/what amenities you require before you start looking
  • Find out/ask about any moving in specials/discounts available
  • Ask what bills are included, if any, in the rental price
  • Check what laundry facilities are available
  • Prepare financially by having at least two months rent available to cover the security deposit and first month's rent - not forgetting the application fee!

I hope you have found this useful, and if you want to know more about my property search, or life in Ohio, be sure to stop by my blog The Move to America.

For more information on renting in the USA, consult our comprehensive USA City Guides for New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. For example, read the guide to Finding Accomadation in NYC or Renting in LA.


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