Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn, and you find yourself in need of an apartment, right now. Within the U.S. alone, almost 7.3 million people were displaced by natural disasters alone over the last 10 years.
When events happen that are out of your control, the ability to search quickly and easily for available places to live in your area is essential.
How we’re helping renters find an apartment fast
Apartment Guide, and our sister brand Rent.com, understand the struggle that people who have been displaced are facing in these circumstances. There’s nothing more important than finding a safe place to live for you and your family. So we’re making it easier for renters to identify apartment communities with immediate move-in ready housing.
If a natural disaster (hurricane, flood, tornado, winter weather, etc.) displaces residents, we’ll put messaging on the property pages of our websites to let renters know that these communities have available units right now.
Messages will look like this example after the Texas ice storm in February 2021:
The messaging will vary depending on the situation, but you’ll be able to easily see if your desired property has any availability. You might even be able to take advantage of move-in specials, depending on the length of the lease you want.
What this means for renters
Apartment availability will always vary from property to property.
In your search, you might find a community in which you’d love to live, but then discover all of the units are currently full or uninhabitable because of the storm. In this case, the earliest availability might not be until the beginning of the new month after another tenant’s lease has expired. Depending on when you are searching, that could be only a few days or a few weeks, but neither options are favorable when you need something right now.
This new messaging helps you save time in your apartment search by showing you right at the top of the property’s page on Apartment Guide or Rent.com if there are immediate openings.
Then you can take the necessary steps to contact that property to discuss your options.
Other tips for finding an apartment fast
While the move-in-ready housing messages will help renters locate properties with availability, it’s not the only way to find apartments quickly.
Here are a few other things that renters can do to find an apartment fast.
1. Be prepared
Although you may not have all your essentials within reach during this time, there are a few important documents you should have ready to ensure a faster process if you find the perfect place. Especially if you end up in a market that’s saturated with other renters undergoing your same experience, speeding up your rental application review is a definite plus.
Make sure you bring the same set of documents to each apartment viewing or have them ready to email to a property manager at a moment’s notice. You’ll want to have:
- Proof of employment: This is either the last few months of pay stubs, a letter from your employer or your most recent tax return.
- Proof of finances: Pay stubs and a recent bank statement can work together here.
- Veterinary records (if you have a pet): Your future property manager will need proof of vaccinations before you’re allowed to have a pet.
- Proof you’re ready to rent (if applicable): Share documentation from your previous property manager that explains why you can no longer live there and confirms you’ve been let out of your previous lease.
- Proof of your situation: It never hurts to provide a letter documenting your situation so that a property manager gets a complete picture of you as a renter and your circumstances.
One other document you can bring with you to really speed up the review of your rental application is a credit report. Although this is something a property manager can access themselves, handing it over at the moment saves a lot of time.
2. Know what you’re looking for
The ideal way to search for apartments is online. At Apartment Guide, we allow you to narrow down your search criteria to improve the results. We’ll help you get into the neighborhoods you want, and only show the listings that align with your wish list of amenities.
Find exactly what you want with True Search
The easiest way to get started is simply using the True Search functionality on our website.
Looking for a one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta that allows dogs and is near public transportation? Simply type that in the search bar and boom, you’ll see all one-bedroom apartments in Atlanta that allow dogs and are near public transportation.
How about a studio apartment in Houston for under $1,000 that has stainless steel appliances? Same thing.
True Search can help you save time so you can find your move-in ready apartment even faster.
Use filters to your advantage
If you’d rather do it the old-fashioned way, you can still use manual filters to help in your search. To find the filters on your mobile device, click on the Filters button in the upper right of your screen. You’ll then be able to select your custom search filters.
To best narrow down your results, it’s important to filter your search in as many areas as possible.
- Set your price range first and be realistic.
- Pick your preferred bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Click on the pet-friendly filter if you’re bringing an animal with you.
- If in-unit laundry is a die-hard amenity for you, make that selection. Skip this option if not, and you’ll get more results.
- Click on your ideal list of extra amenities, but be selective and pick only the top choices. You’re in a hurry after all, and it helps to find areas where you could compromise.
- Make sure results are set to sort by best match.
From there, you can click on the heart icon (if you’re signed in) to save searches you like and keep a comprehensive list.
At the same time you’re clicking on the hearts though, give the listings a call to inquire about availability. Don’t fill out the form online if you’re looking for immediate results.
3. Go on virtual tours
When you can, tour an apartment community in person. But, if you want to find an apartment fast, virtual tours will be a quicker option.
Most communities on our website give you the following virtual tour options:
- 3D tours and videos: Use interactive 3D features to virtually explore a unit at your own pace.
- Recorded video tours: Watch a prerecorded video tour of a leasing agent walking through the unit.
- Live video tours: FaceTime or Zoom with a leasing agent who will walk you through the unit and grounds. This option gives you the ability to ask questions in real-time.
You’ll be able to find the virtual tour options under the Tour From Home section of the property page on our website.
4. Shop the specials
It’s also beneficial to look for specials when you’re trying to find an apartment fast. From free rent to heavy discounts, each dollar you can keep will help with the additional expenses of relocating and replacing your possessions.
This is easy to do when you search with Apartment Guide. Look for the filter called Hot Deals. Adding this to your search criteria prioritizes rentals with special offers. When clicking on a listing with a Hot Deals tag, you’ll see the specifics of the special right at the top.
Make sure to mention the deal when you call the property manager. Let them know where you saw it, and ensure that it’s still available should you come in to sign a lease.
Find your move-in ready apartment today
Helping renters find their move-in-ready apartment is what Apartment Guide is all about. We’re here for you, with a comprehensive search, whether you’re in a rush to find an apartment fast or can take your time. Either way, we understand the importance of having a home that works for you on all levels.