Author Topic: Best way to search rentals - Colorado  (Read 2217 times)

therethere

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Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« on: January 27, 2016, 04:42:22 PM »
So its nearing the end of my lease again. Which means I browse craigslist non-stop all day long for 2 months and worry and hope something comes along. Craigslist is just so overwhelming with the scammers, places listed for the wrong place or price, missing information, people WAY overposting, flakes that email you back but don't answer any of your very simple questions, etc. It such a waste of time sorting through hundreds of properties and having to even google them separately to figure out what the property is like. I honestly can barely even tell which ones I've considered or not.

I'm just wondering is there a better way? Or is craigslist still the go to for people to post their rentals? I'm mainly looking at rentals that are not at big apartment complexes. In Denver if that helps.

Just today there was a rental I'm interested in. Craigslist says its dual level and private back yard, all the pictures make it seem like its a garden level unit, property records don't match the square footage, and its listed for rent at 1200 on one website, 1050 on another, 850 on another all with the same property management company. No one will answer any of my questions! I have to look on Google Earth and property records to figure it out the square footage. And search old rental listings to deduce that it is in fact a garden level unit which is the opposite of what the current listing says. It is just so frustrating.


Roboturner

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2016, 04:47:38 PM »
padmapper

therethere

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2016, 04:49:27 PM »
I thought padmapper went by the wayside years ago? I knew it was still around but for some reason I thought it just pulled a minimal amount of rentals.

Roboturner

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2016, 04:52:29 PM »
Ah perhaps, don't know I got my apartment using it like 3-4 yrs ago, thought it was great at the time

therethere

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2016, 10:14:29 AM »
I'm reposting in hopes some landlords or renters will chime in. I've been checking rentals on craigslist multiple times a day for over a month. I've emailed probably 40 and one has emailed back. This is insanely frustrating. I'm estimating about 80% of the listings for SFH and duplexes on craigslist are SCAMS. It takes a while to vet and figure this out. Such a waste of time. I've resorted to using google earth to answer my questions. And google image search to determine if its a duplicate listing. There HAS to be a better way. Craigslist is full of scams. Other sites like zillow/trulia are extremely out of date (apparently no one ever deletes listings?). What's worse is there isn't an effective way to flag rentals as scams on craigslist. So they continue to appear over and over again.

Where do you guys post your legit rentals? I can't be the only one running into this problem!!!

randymarsh

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2016, 10:56:34 AM »
While there are lots of scams on Craigslist, I think the bigger issue you're running into is lack of units. Denver has a very low vacancy rate. New construction is happening but there are just so many people moving here.  What is your price range?

therethere

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2016, 11:27:39 AM »
Looking for 2bd (or 1bd +den) less than 1550 with an outdoor space (or large balcony). Also an off-street parking spot.

I love Denver for the city life and mountains. But past year or so I'm starting to view it as holding me back. My rent +  utilities is 2/3rd of my takehome pay (after deductions) so I'm continually stressed and frustrated that we can never reach the "live on one income". Can't everyone stop moving in already? Its just unreal, salaries are not keeping up with housing and rent price at all.

galliver

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2016, 11:28:18 AM »
When we moved to the LA area, I scoured Craigslist and Zillow. I emailed some, but called more (many people around here leave their phone only). We got something around 7/30 to do showings...others never picked up, were already rented, etc. So my advice: try calling when you can and if you email, make sure to sound real and serious; proper grammar, friendly and personal tone.  We were also recommended a realtor who worked with rentals by a friend, and that's how we ended up in the awesome place we have. She was able to show it to us before it went up on the mainstream sites (showed it Saturday, we signed Sunday, phones were ringing off the hook Monday, we moved in Tuesday). And she was paid by commission on the deal, by the landlord, basically. No $$ out of our pocket!

We did also find one the CL/Zillow route, though. It was smaller, slightly more expensive, and worse located, but perfectly suitable.

On that subject, are your expectations realistic? Our requirements were limited to: >500SF, >1BR, some kitchen counterspace, full size stove/oven (this was an issue), grounded electrical-3 prong outlets (this was an issue... >_<)  AC and parking was a huge plus but actually present everywhere we saw so not really a factor. We were willing to forgo dishwasher, fridge (often occupant-provided here, it's weird), laundry, outdoor space, etc. Basically cut it down to our bare minimum requirements.

What's wrong with the place you are in?

randymarsh

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2016, 11:50:35 AM »
Looking for 2bd (or 1bd +den) less than 1550 with an outdoor space (or large balcony). Also an off-street parking spot.

I love Denver for the city life and mountains. But past year or so I'm starting to view it as holding me back. My rent +  utilities is 2/3rd of my takehome pay (after deductions) so I'm continually stressed and frustrated that we can never reach the "live on one income". Can't everyone stop moving in already? Its just unreal, salaries are not keeping up with housing and rent price at all.

Would something like this work: http://denver.craigslist.org/apa/5445049474.html


therethere

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2016, 11:59:36 AM »
I'm primarily just looking to save some money without having to sacrifice every single hobby we have. I'm just trying to improve our monthly required bills.I'm willing to move out of our neighborhood to do it but nothing seems reasonable. Our management company is also terrible. Every year our rent goes up but they place gets further into disrepair.

I find it surprising that phone calls work better. I typically send an email with a few sentences about ourselves and a few questions for followup. I'm upfront in saying please answer my questions before I come see it so no one is wasting time on showings if its a bad fit. I dislike phone calls because I can't understand people very well (if they have an accent forget it!) and have a poor memory. I need the email track record of the answers and what place or listing it was for. Especially with the amount of people you have to contact to find anything.

I've been burned too many times in the past on my security deposit so I now factor that into the cost of monthly rent. While realistic, it does drive down my threshold of what I want to pay. I guess I'm just too cheap and expect too much.

randymarsh

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2016, 12:29:56 PM »
Renting is definitely difficult here. A good place at a decent price will be snapped up same day or next day. I got lucky and found a tiny studio in a great neighborhood with great owners just a week before I started my job. Not sure what I would have done if I couldn't have gotten keys so quick.

$1550 for a 2 bedroom with outdoor space/balcony and parking will be tough, assuming you're looking at neighborhoods like Wash Park, Baker, Cap Hill, etc.

Another Reader

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2016, 12:53:55 PM »
Zillow may be better, fewer thieves and scammers.  Call AND e-mail if possible.  Have all your info ready to hand over once you find something you like.

therethere

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2016, 01:31:50 PM »
I was willing to move across I-25, pretty much bounded by Sheridan or Mississippi/Evans. But to be worth it it I was hoping for $1400 or under in those areas. Maybe I've been spoiled by my rent and haven't known it? I'm about to give up so I can enjoy the rest of the month and stop worrying. I always hold out thinking I'm gonna find something that no one else sees. But that usually takes finding places that have what you want but forgot to list them in the ad. That's how I got where we are now.

So you guys put me in line. I'm just cheap and unrealistic, and spoiled with all the extras we have now. I thought I was giving up a lot by giving up my requirement for non-shared walls, garage, yard, or downtown. Oops. Pretty much unless we move to a 1bd apartment in Cap Hill, which I was trying to stay out of, we will never find anything in the range . Hah. Maybe I should sign a longer term lease to lock it down.

galliver

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2016, 02:26:31 PM »
I'm primarily just looking to save some money without having to sacrifice every single hobby we have. I'm just trying to improve our monthly required bills.I'm willing to move out of our neighborhood to do it but nothing seems reasonable. Our management company is also terrible. Every year our rent goes up but they place gets further into disrepair.

I find it surprising that phone calls work better. I typically send an email with a few sentences about ourselves and a few questions for followup. I'm upfront in saying please answer my questions before I come see it so no one is wasting time on showings if its a bad fit. I dislike phone calls because I can't understand people very well (if they have an accent forget it!) and have a poor memory. I need the email track record of the answers and what place or listing it was for. Especially with the amount of people you have to contact to find anything.

I've been burned too many times in the past on my security deposit so I now factor that into the cost of monthly rent. While realistic, it does drive down my threshold of what I want to pay. I guess I'm just too cheap and expect too much.

I actually hate phone calls too. You should have seen the faces I made as I was getting ready to. But I also liked the idea of having a place to live, so...you know, seemed like a worthwhile trade ;)  Also, in case that part didn't come across as advice: you could try finding a realtor to help; apparently the standards of the business practice are different by area, but it can't hurt to check out if you can get that service free-to-you and have another resource for information (also, higher likelihood of legitimacy, I would think).

On the other hand, from a Mustachian perspective, you may want to evaluate if the benefits the second bedroom, outdoor space, or parking confer are worth the cost...

mandy_2002

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Re: Best way to search rentals - Colorado
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2016, 03:04:05 PM »
I'm primarily just looking to save some money without having to sacrifice every single hobby we have. I'm just trying to improve our monthly required bills.I'm willing to move out of our neighborhood to do it but nothing seems reasonable. Our management company is also terrible. Every year our rent goes up but they place gets further into disrepair.

I find it surprising that phone calls work better. I typically send an email with a few sentences about ourselves and a few questions for followup. I'm upfront in saying please answer my questions before I come see it so no one is wasting time on showings if its a bad fit. I dislike phone calls because I can't understand people very well (if they have an accent forget it!) and have a poor memory. I need the email track record of the answers and what place or listing it was for. Especially with the amount of people you have to contact to find anything.

I've been burned too many times in the past on my security deposit so I now factor that into the cost of monthly rent. While realistic, it does drive down my threshold of what I want to pay. I guess I'm just too cheap and expect too much.

I actually hate phone calls too. You should have seen the faces I made as I was getting ready to. But I also liked the idea of having a place to live, so...you know, seemed like a worthwhile trade ;)  Also, in case that part didn't come across as advice: you could try finding a realtor to help; apparently the standards of the business practice are different by area, but it can't hurt to check out if you can get that service free-to-you and have another resource for information (also, higher likelihood of legitimacy, I would think).

On the other hand, from a Mustachian perspective, you may want to evaluate if the benefits the second bedroom, outdoor space, or parking confer are worth the cost...

I used a rental realtor in my currently location a few years ago.  My company paid for it, and she basically did the screening that you're struggling with (went through Craigslist, newspapers, and realty sites) and lined up 10 apartments for me to see, with all but 1 in my modest price range for the east bay area of San Francisco.  The one that wasn't in my price range was the chosen one, and she actually negotiated the monthly price down to the top of my range for me; my landlord was an older man who's previous tenants had been a guy who beat his girlfriend, so he was ecstatic to have a single female engineer as a tenant. 

The way it's set up here, if you use a realtor, you pay a flat rate and they work with you for two days.  I think it was $350-500 for her time, and for me it was totally worth it.  I got everything I wanted, and lived there for 1.5 years until my super-saver rental came along.