Looking for a place to rent can be a stressful ordeal. There are many factors to consider, including location, rental property size, the type of rental (whether house or apartment), and price. Luckily, Zillow.com is an excellent resource for finding rental properties.
There are many factors to consider when renting a property, all of which can be customized using Zillow's search tool.
Is the property something you can easily afford monthly? As a general rule, your rent amount should be below 30 percent of your total monthly household income. So, if you make $3,000 a month, 30 percent of that is 900. Ideally, your rent would be below $900 in this case.
Where do you want to live? A busy city, quiet neighborhood, or a combination of both? Do you want to stay in the current city you live in, or are you looking to move further away? Decide what factors are most important to you, and go from there. If you commute every day, you may want to situate yourself close to a highway. If you like quiet and privacy, you'll want to consider a suburb or neighborhood.
Type of Rental
This may be influenced by price as well, but the type of rental you consider is also up to your budget and preferences. If you want more space and like the responsibility of taking care of an outdoor property, then perhaps you should consider a rental house. Although more expensive, they do offer more privacy. Otherwise, you'll want to consider a condo or apartment.
Zillow provides an intuitive interface for searching for properties. Their homepage lets you choose the type of listings you're looking for, and then lets you type in the city you're focusing your search on. The Zillow rent system then scours MLS listings (public information) for properties that match the parameters of your search. You can also search by zip code instead of typing in a city/town and state — this is helpful for narrowing your search area when a particular city has multiple zip codes.
Customize a Zillow Rent Search
The Zillow website lets you set parameters for finding a rental home or apartment. Some of these parameters include:
- Price: You can set a price range for filtering out monthly rents that would be out of your budget.
- Number of bedrooms: This is helpful when you want to focus on finding a one or two bedroom place or a place with more than two bedrooms.
- Type of Rental: Lets you choose a home, townhome, condo, or apartment. The differences between what is considered a townhome and condo may vary by location, so be sure to search for both if you're focusing your search on that type of housing.
Additional Customization Options:
- Number of bathrooms
- Square Footage
- Lot Size (this would only apply for rental houses)
- Year the property was built, provided as a range
- Number of days the listing has been on Zillow
- Whether pets are allowed
- Type of Parking
- Type of Laundry Facilities
It's important not to limit your search too much when you're looking for rentals because many landlords or property managers won't take the time to customize their listing for each particular detail you're looking for. For instance, they may not indicate on their listing whether pets are allowed or not, and if you search only for properties that allow pets, that listing won't appear on your results even if they do allow pets. It won't appear simply because the landlord didn't check off that little box that says pets are allowed. They may have put that information elsewhere in the listing, such as in the description.
Top 5 Routes for "Zillow"
- Apartmentlist.com Unsurprisingly, this website focuses on finding extra listings for apartments in your city near you. Much like most apps, you can search throughout different cities. It's also possible to search through various sizes of apartments, from studio to luxury. Of course, pet lovers can make sure that their listed options are pet friendly.
- Rent.com Rent.com is very similar to Zillow, in that it scours rental listings, and the results can be customized based on your individual needs and preferences.
- Trulia Again, similar to Zillow, Trulia lists properties for rent or purchase in specific regions or areas. It also provides school and neighborhood information.
- Apartment Therapy - Apartment therapy is a real estate blog intended to assist people who are moving and could use more information. This article focuses on how to properly use Zillow at full power and avoid pitfalls.
- HotPads This site focuses its search on large urban areas and provides direct links to bigger cities for individuals interested in moving there, including Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. It also focuses results just on rentals.