Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Finding the perfect home to rent can be tricky. You have to decide on what area you want to live in, features that you can’t live without, and then go about finding the perfect place to rent. In Hampton Roads, VA there always seems to be tons of places available for rent, however, at the same time there are a lot of home renting scams in the area as well.
As someone who’s been renting in the Hampton Roads, VA area for about a decade now I’m sharing my best tips for finding the perfect home to rent for your family.
Research Areas Where You’d Like to Live
Before even looking at potential rental homes, I’d suggest researching the areas where you’d potentially love to live.
Since moving back to Virginia, I’ve lived in Williamsburg, Hampton, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Newport News.
Each city has different perks, such as Hampton being the middle point of all of the other cities on both sides of the tunnel and Norfolk being a great city to live in if you like going to the beach a lot.
If you’re relocating to the area, I’d suggest doing research on all of the cities and determining which would be the best for you. Make sure to check out the schools (if you have children), the commute to your job, and local activities/shopping areas if you don’t want to have to be car or public transportation dependent.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you’re only considering areas that are within your budget.
For example, let’s say you wanted to live in Norfolk, VA. According to Zumper, the average rent for a 3 bedroom apartment is $1443. Then, if you look at specific areas, it could be even more. For example, Zumper says the median rent for the Willough Bay area is $1800 for a 3 bedroom and East Ocean View is $3400.
There are some areas that are more affordable such as Campostella, which ranks in at $825 for the average rent and Glenwood Park for $950 per month, but those areas aren’t as desirable as East Ocean View and West Ghent.
If You’re Not Familiar With the Area Ask Locals For Advice
As with any other area, each city is going to have it’s good and bad neighborhoods. Unfortunately, doing a Google search will deter you from wanting to stay in most cities in Hampton Roads, VA because many are constantly in the news for one thing or another – especially Portsmouth, Newport News, Norfolk, and Hampton.
The good news is that you can go on community-specific forms such as City Data and city-specific subreddits and interact with locals for a current perspective on the neighborhood that you’re considering moving to.
Make a List of Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Wants’
Once you’ve decided on the specific city you want to rent a home from, next it’s time to move on to making a list of your ‘must haves’ and ‘wants’. The reason I suggest breaking it down like this is because it’s more likely you’ll find the perfect home that has all of your must haves within your budget than finding the perfect home to rent that includes all of your must haves and wants.
For example, some of my must haves include: a minimum of 2 full bathrooms, three bedrooms, garage, be pet friendly, and at least two stories. Some of my wants include walk in closet in master, full tub master bathroom, fenced in backyard, and additional storage space. However, if I find a home that meets my ‘must haves’ but doesn’t include all of my ‘wants’ I’m still open to considering it, especially if it’s in a great area, in a desirable school zone for the kids, and isn’t 100% car dependent.
Use a Credible Online Rental Platform
Using a credible online rental platform is probably the most important tip I can provide when it comes to finding your perfect home to rent in Hampton Roads, VA.
Don’t get me wrong, when I was in my early twenties I was able to find some great private owner rentals using classified ad sites, but now it seems that majority of the listings there are scams. What I mean by this is the houses are actually legit, but the people listing them aren’t. You’ll know right away its a scam though because they typically only have an email contact, when do respond they’ll mention being out of town and requiring money upfront before you even view the house, etc.
To save yourself from the headache just start off with a credible online rental platform. While I won’t say you won’t run across a few scams there, it’s less likely, and a lot rarer.
NOTE: If for some reason you’re not able to deal with realtors or property management companies, you will also be able to find the occasional private owner landlord on credible online rental platforms too.
Don’t Settle on the First House You View
I understand sometimes you need to move in a rush. There have been three occasions in my rental history where the landlord has decided to sell the home and I had to find a new place to move in 30 days or less. So, I definitely understand that sometimes moving to a new home is not something you have the luxury of being picky about.
But, never settle on the first house you view.
When using online rental listing portals, I always recommend going through all of the houses that meet your criteria and booking showings for all the ones that have pictures or videos that scream perfect home, or in a rush situation, meets all of my ‘must haves’ at least homes. Typically, I’ll try to view them all in the same day if possible, or same week at the worst. Then, once all options have been evaluated make a list and apply for your top pick first. If for some reason that doesn’t work out go on to the next home.
Find Out The Rental Criteria and Your Chances of Being Approved Before Paying the Application Fee
During my most rent move, applications fees ran from $50 to $100 per adult to apply. So, as you probably can imagine, application fees can get pricey.
Therefore, before applying talk with the realtor and find out all of the rental criteria and your chances of being approved before paying the application fee. If they can’t, or won’t, give you any idea as to if you’ll be approved, chances are you should pass. There are renters out here who will take in as many application fees as possible (usually non refundable) and have no intention of renting you the property.
If this is your first time renting through a realtor or property management company you’ll be expected to make three times the rent per person (or couple if married), have been employed for the past six months at the same job (or have two years of tax returns if self employed), and have 2 responsive rental references (they will check and if your reference doesn’t answer it could slow down your move in).
You Can Find the Perfect Home to Rent in Hampton Roads, VA
You can find the perfect home to rent in Hampton Roads, VA AND it doesn’t have to take months if you follow these tips. Just make sure to do your research, use a credible rental website, and already have a solid idea of how much you want to pay per month and what features you cannot live without.