Writen by: on February 6, 2013

We here at A to B Property Management get asked quite frequently for tips on how to find an apartment in the Bay Area. As a property management company part of our job is to help our clients find the right tenants for their rentals. This being so, we thought we would share our perspective on what our clients are looking for in a potential renter.

In addition to this, because we do property management in Fremont, San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell, and much more, we have a wide range of experience in what goes into Bay Area apartment hunting.

So whether you are a current Bay Area resident or are planning to move here from out of town, here are a few steps that will make your apartment hunt less stressful and more successful.

Pre-hunt preparation:
Before looking at any listings or attending open houses you should have the following items prepped and ready. It will ensure your hunt is efficient and that you are ready to strike the second you have the perfect apartment in your crosshairs. Unfortunately, many apartment hunters skip this step and end up losing their dream apartment because someone else was better prepared so don’t let that be you!

Determine what area you would like to live in and what your housing needs are:
Most of you may already know exactly where you would like to live but if you don’t, do your research. At A to B Property Management we have rentals in several neighborhoods / cities and you may be surprised at the diversity of character and attractions each area has to offer.

Second, come up with a list of what housing needs you can’t live without (ie: two bedroom, in-unit laundry, big kitchen, patio space, parking, etc.) This is an important step! You won’t be able to find the right place if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.

Set and stick to a budget:
It’s easy to be drawn to a place that is “just” outside of your price range. Avoid this slippery slope for your financial well being. From a property management and landlord perspective, it is not beneficial to rent to a tenant who is over extending themselves financially.

Have your Renter Resume and cover letter ready:
Landlords and property management companies select applicants that appear responsible and prepared. When we meet with a potential renter who presents their resume it makes the individual stand out from the crowd immediately and creates this good impression.

LiveLovely has a Renter Resume Generator that is a great tool or get creative with your own layout but be sure to include the key info:

– Complete contact information and a short blurb about yourself.
– Employment and housing histories. Including pay stubs or if not available, a letter of employment and two prior landlords with all of their contact info.
– Copies of your legal ID and a credit report.

When composing this keep the landlords point of view in mind. You are trying to show why you would benefit the landlord as their tenant. Also, some nice color photography and attention to design never hurts.

If you are outside of the Bay Area, find a temporary living arrangement:
Apartment searches can be almost impossible from afar and puts you at a disadvantage. If you don’t have a friend or family member to stay with then look at AirBnB, Craigslist, Corporate Housing by Owner etc. Staying somewhere less than ideal for a few weeks in order to find the right apartment for you is definitely worth it!

Hunting & Interviewing:
Chances are if a rental becomes available and you love it, a lot of others will too. Realize that you will need to put adequate effort into the hunt in order to get the best results.

Search out the listings that fit your criteria and follow up:
The top two sites to find listings are LiveLovely and Craigslist. There is a constant stream of new listings so be sure to set up email alerts so you will be one of the first to see it. Once you have found a potential apartment contact the property manager or landlord to set up a viewing time. If you are emailing then be sure to include your new Renter Resume.

Connect with the landlord or property manager:
At A to B Property Management we meet with potential renters on behalf of our clients on a regular basis. Landlords and property managers want to meet the people they rent to so establishing a personal connection can be very beneficial to you. In addition to this, the most important thing is to show that you are committed to taking care of their rental and being a great tenant.

Written by

I have been licensed as a real estate agent and loan agent in the State of California since 1985 and started A to B Realty and Property Management on August 1, 1994. We are licensed in California.

We specialize in providing property management services and Real Estate sales for the purchase of residential and commercial properties.

Our most recent success has been working closely with Bank Owned Properties in the management and sale of their assets. We advise on price, condition and needed repairs to ensure maximum return.

After 27 years of experience there is nothing I haven't encountered that I couldn't resolve and you can be sure you will be in good hands!

You can find me on Google+ and facebook or write to me at