2. Start your search in advance The best rentals are listed early and leased quickly. When you know where you're headed, start looking! Tips on the best sites to find rentals in the Carlisle area can be found in this Renting 101 Article.
3. Check reviews & referrals Check reviews for your landlord, but also don't be afraid to ask for tenant referrals.
4. Be wary of scams and fair housing violations Don't pay anything before meeting with a landlord, real estate agent, or manager. Always get receipts. Make sure you have contracts in place before paying any rent or security deposit. If you feel you're being discriminated against, follow the Fair Housing advice.
5. Negotiate Plan to stay put for multiple years? Bringing no pets to a pet friendly rental? Don't need an off street parking space that's included in rent? Many landlords are willing to negotiate rent for more appealing tenants and terms.
6. Consider Short Term Rentals or Roommates Not finding the right place or everything is out of your budget? Look for a place to live later or find someone who can split rent with you.
8. Consider All Expenses It can be difficult to accurately calculate all the costs when moving to a new area, but protect yourself by getting as much information as possible. Always ask for tenant-paid utility estimates. These costs can often make up the difference between a cheaper rental that doesn't include utilities and a more expensive one with fewer out of pocket costs during the lease. Also consider who's responsible for maintenance (lawn care, snow removal, common area cleaning), if there are parking fees, laundry costs, application fee(s), rental insurance, internet, etc. This is a helpful article outlining some rental and moving expenses to consider.
9. Visually Tour Your Rental Set up a showing and view your rental in person. If you can't, request a video tour. It's very important to see a place before committing to a lease as there can be many surprises in person that you might not catch checking out pictures and descriptions. You may not like the area, layout, room size, appliances, neighbors (There's a bar downstairs!), etc.
If you can't do a showing in person before accepting a lease, there are several steps you can take to minimize risk. Ask for as many pictures as the landlord will provide, and ask when they were taken. Ask if there's a video tour online or if you can take a video call tour. Before signing a lease to a place you haven't seen in person, ask for a document stating you can rip up the lease agreement if anything about the rental was misrepresented in the pictures or video you used to make your decision. Be wary making large payments before seeing a place in person.