When should one begin their search for a rental home? What a great question! And I can answer it, which is awesome!
When you have one to two months until you must move, that’s the time to begin your search. By doing research. You know the area you want to be in? You can see what types of homes are available and what rents are for the area you want to be in. How to find the best search engine for you; does Craig’s List work better than Zillow, Trulia or Hot Pad? By the way, the same information should be on all the sites but an occasional glance at the other sites may unearth some different information.
The time to actually start contacting people to show you homes is 2 to 4 weeks ahead of your move date. Any longer than this and you will be looking at homes that will not be available when you are ready for them or the dreaded payment of double rent. Most landlords will only hold a home vacant for two weeks. If you are searching two months ahead of time, you will not be productive.
Know the area. Drive by the house, is this going to be somewhere you determine you cannot live due to a material issue of location? We encourage you to share as much information on the phone and ask as many questions on the phone as possible prior to you interrupting your schedule with an onsite visit. Plus you’ll get a good feel for the manager or landlord.
I know how frightening it is to hear 2-4 weeks as the right time to begin an earnest search. What if you don’t find something? The homework ahead of time will prepare you for finding that perfect home at the perfect time. Good house hunting to you!