1. Read different sources

If you can narrow down your area of focus before looking for houses, you can really concentrate your efforts in a place where you are most likely to be happy

2. Sabbatical Homes

If there is any kind of college or university in your city  sabbatical homes is an off-the-beaten-track way to find a well-loved home that is being temporarily vacated.  Usually these houses belong to professors, but not necessarily.

Plus, if you want to get your house nailed down sooner rather than later, sabbatical homes are often advertised way ahead of time, since people usually plan these things in advance.

3. Drive Around and Look for RENT signs

Okay, it’s old-fashioned, but so are some landlords.  Certain homeowners shy away from advertising to the public, hoping someone in the neighbourhood will know someone who needs to rent a house.

4.  Word of Mouth with Any and All Contacts

If you have made contacts with anyone in your future area, always mention you are looking for a rental house.  It might be helpful to mention how many bedrooms you need and a price range too.  Again, some homeowners do not want to rent to just anyone, and will wait for that friend of a friend — which could be you.

5.Spread the Word on social media groups

The 21st century version of driving around neighbourhoods is broadcasting online.  Join an social media groups that are centred in your area of interest.  

6. Newspapers — Housing Wanted(Classfieds)

The housing section of the classifieds may be your largest source of do-it-yourself rental houses out there.  

Similarly, you could try the analogue version:  post a housing wanted ad in the local newspaper or town newsletter.  There are still plenty of landlords who are not hip to the whole online thing, so you might just catch the perfect gem this way.

7.  Find Realtors that Deal with Rentals

When we were looking for a house to rent in Harare, everyone we talked to recommended their real estate agent.  Invariably this agent had helped them buy a house, but was not very interested in helping us rent one.

Even though an agent’s fee is typically one month’s rent, half of that amount often goes to the agency and another percent towards fees and other expenses.  So the monetary motivation is practically nil.

To find an agent who will actually help you, contact an agency that seems to be prominent in your area of interest (check to see who is listing most of the home sales), and ask for the agent that deals with rentals.  Often this person is starting out and is happy to show you around in hopes that someday you will become a future (buying) client of hers.

At the very least, the agent should put you in the system to get automatic email updates when a new house comes up for rent.

8.  Moderate Income Housing

When we were moving to the Bulawayo, area, we found a city program that set aside a certain number of rental apartments — sometimes in upscale buildings or townhouse complexes — for families with moderate incomes.  Unfortunately, most of these apartments had long waiting lists, but it’s worth a try if you think you might qualify.

9.  Look for Houses That Are Not Selling

How do you know? If you like the house, contact the agent and see if the owners would consider renting.  Many homeowners have already bought another house and can’t afford a double mortgage.



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