Tips For Apartment Hunting in San Francisco

Apartment hunting in San Francisco is not an easy task. The rental market has become so competitive—and expensive—that many people spend months looking for their perfect, quaint, San Francisco apartment. Some will even argue that that picturesque living situation no longer exists, at least not without a hefty price tag attached to it. However, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances to snagging your ideal place in San Francisco.  

Craigslist is Great, but Word-of-Mouth is Better

It’s an adage story in San Francisco: I found my apartment on Craigslist. This is by far the most frequently used platform by apartment hunters in the city. While Craigslist is a good resource for those who are looking for housing, word-of-mouth will put you ahead of the game. If you have friends who already live in San Francisco, ask them to reach out to their social media networks and see if they know of anyone leaving an apartment, or have a room opening up in their pad. People who live in San Francisco would much rather give their place to a friend of a friend than deal with the hundreds (we’re not joking) of applicants they’ll receive on Craigslist.  

Set Alerts or Be Forced to Be on Craigslist 24/7

If word-of-mouth isn’t an option for you, it’s a good idea to set Google Alerts when you’re apartment hunting in San Francisco. As we previously mentioned, one Craigslist ad can receive hundreds of responses. People are likely to stop sifting through applications after the thirtieth one. It’s only in your best interest to submit an application not too long after the ad has been posted. You’re significantly more likely to receive a response when you’ve applied right away.  

Read Ads Thoroughly

An obvious way to scale your search is by creating a template you can copy, paste and hit send right away. Unfortunately, this isn’t a guaranteed method. In fact, many posters ask very detailed questions in their listings. We’ve seen everything from, “what’s your favorite burrito?” to “send links to your social profiles or you won’t be considered.” Make sure to always thoroughly read the ad before responding to it.  

Arrive on Time (And Maybe With a Bottle of Wine?)

Once you snag an invite to a potential pad, it’s important to make a really great first impression. Always arrive on time, and don’t be afraid to bring a gift with you. Perhaps that’s a bottle of wine, or coffee—a small gesture can go a long way.  

Be Ready to Pounce

Finally, the journey of San Francisco apartment hunting doesn’t allow much time to “think it over” or “consider all of your options.” Once you receive an offer from a place, you must be prepared to take it—unless it was totally different from what you were expecting it to look like. Many landlords will require you to provide a credit report as part of the official application process, in addition to references. Be sure to have all of these prepared before you embark on your search. Good luck!