Living in California is many people’s dream, but everyone knows that the cost of living in California is one of the highest in the country. If you are interested in living in California, the answer may be in a rental instead of homeownership. Rental properties in California are numerous, and it is easy to find a property for lease that fits your lifestyle. Do you think you are ready to start looking? Go through this list to make sure you have what you need to get started.
Set a Budget
Before you start looking at properties, you should know what your price range is. Take into consideration things like your income, how much your bills normally are, and how much they may be different with costs in California, how much you spend on groceries, and any other expenditures. Building a budget for yourself can give you an exact picture of how much apartment you may be able to afford.
Research Your Neighborhoods
If you are already a California resident, you may have a good idea of what area you want to look for a rental in. If you are not a current resident or live far away from the area you are thinking of moving to, do some thorough research before settling on your decision. Spend a couple of days in the neighborhood if you can, exploring the features that most appeal to you. Look at crime rates and the neighborhood layout. Is this neighborhood close enough to your job that you won’t have a many-hours-long commute? The traffic in many California cities can be ridiculous, which is something to keep in mind.
Have a List of Must-haves
While you are not committing to owning a house, signing a lease on an apartment is still deciding where you are going to live your life, normally for a full year. Your living space should be comfortable, safe, and live up to your expectations. Create a list of things you can not live without. It may be a certain amount of square footage, or a certain number of windows, or an extra room that would be perfect for a home office. You may require a space that is pet-friendly, or one of your must-haves might be a pool or a fitness center. Decide what makes your life happy and comfortable and look for those things.
Explore Your Options
Researching for an apartment doesn’t require a realtor, although sometimes realtors do have access to more apartments than you may be able to find in an online search of common apartment list sites. However, most available apartments are going to be listed online with a simple search of apartments in a certain neighborhood. When you find apartments that catch your eye, take a few extra moments to do some research. Read reviews of people who have lived in those apartments, and look for reviews of the property management company. Compare the value to other apartments in the area.
Do In-Person Visits
Do not rely on photos on the internet to tell you how an apartment is going to look and feel. When you find a place that you think will be right for you, go visit it in person. Spend some time looking around and imagining yourself there in the different spaces and going about your daily routine. On your way there and when you leave, look around the neighborhood (especially if you are unfamiliar with it) and see if there are close things that you enjoy or require, like good restaurants or a gym. You aren’t just looking for a place to sleep, you are looking for a place to live your life comfortably and happily.
Apply as Soon as Possible
When you find a place you love, apply for it! The apartment market in California can be very tight, so you may have to act quickly to nab that place you really like. Having your paperwork together and information quickly available will be helpful. Apartment applications will often require a credit check, proof of income, past rental history, job history, and many other pieces of information that it may take some time to look up if you do not already know. And once you do purchase that perfect California home, you can finally relax, as you’ll now be living in the city — and the home — of your dreams!