How to Find the Perfect Rental for You

The month of January I have been admittedly MIA.  At the risk of sounding like I am making excuses, we have been in the process of looking for a new rental and the process is a far bigger deal than I was prepared for.

I have moved many times. Moving doesn’t scare or stress me. In fact, I am looking forward to packing and unpacking somewhere new.  The difference with this move, is it’s purely out of choice.  We currently live in a great building, in a great part of town, where we both get to walk to work.  We want for nothing and have no actual complaints, which made seeing new places and options far more daunting.

Every Philly style town home we saw, I knew we could make it work.  I know any place would be fine for us, but I realized we wanted a place worth moving for.  We saw gorgeous brick walls and amazing roof top patios, both Philly style assets that I love.  These places also came with ‘buts;’ busy corners, further from public transportation, no dishwasher, or the high end of our price point.  There was always something that didn’t push us enough to take the plunge.

We were getting frustrated and struggling; not because good places weren’t available but we were viewing everything as ‘we could live here’ instead of ‘we can’t wait to live here.’


While in hindsight it’s easy to reflect on these places and other options, here’s how we took a step back and finally found the perfect place for us.

  1. Stick to your ‘must haves’:  If you want a parking spot, a roof top, a basement, stick to it.  Narrow down the things that will improve your living space and always aim to improve from where you are. Reminding ourselves of this really helped us eliminate places that would work but that weren’t worth moving for.
  1. Don’t judge rent at sticker value: A lot of places are willing to work with tenants to improve the rent or add on other amenities.  We had 2 places prior to finalizing on our new apartment that offered reduced rent, more accommodating moving dates and more parking options included in the initial sticker price when we showed true interest.  Don’t be afraid to ask – and don’t be startled by sticker price.
  1. Have an open mind: Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you cant make the space work for you.  Try and think outside of the box when it comes to storage, usage and space layout.  A lot of hidden gems are left unrented for longer because people don’t take time to think of other ways of using the space than the prior owners set up.

Thanks to Zillow we were finally able to find the perfect place for us.  They allow you to filter by your ‘must haves’ which makes the search far more manageable.  Once we found something we were interested in, communicating with the realtor was always fast and easy.  We saw multiple places and all with ease.  Zillow is a great source for anyone thinking about renting or already on the hunt.

Stay tuned for more details on our new place and all the plans we have for it.  Things tend to fall into place right when and how they should, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

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