Congratulations on your decision to move to San Francisco! Whether you’ve decided to join the startup revolution or have family ties to the city, you’ve now committed to this move. The next thing on your list is to find a place to live.
So HOW do you find an apartment in San Francisco without the financial drain?
1. Start Your Search Right Away.
Rental prices in San Francisco are insane. Expect to pay anywhere from $1,400 – $2,000 per month for a studio and $2,500 – $3,200 for a two bedroom. In the next few minutes, expect to pay a little more. Kidding aside, prices will continue to rise so come now if you’re going to come.
2. You’ll Need a Roommate.
To ease the financial burden of paying for your new place, find a roommate that can help you with the crazy apartment prices. Having a roommate in San Francisco is almost a necessity unless you’ve built up a nest egg just for this purpose alone. It might not be that easy to find someone since the market is pretty competitive. Get on your social media accounts and start reaching out to people as soon as you can.
3. Explore the Neighborhoods.
Start off by scouting all the neighborhoods and narrowing down your search. Figuring out where you want to live can be a task in itself. There’s a huge difference street to street and neighborhood to neighborhood in this city.
Factors to consider would be your lifestyle, the commute to work and the cost of living. If you plan on using public transportation, make sure Muni or BART is close by. And if you have a car, be sure to understand the parking in your area. Factor in the cost of a parking space or the cost of paying for parking tickets.
Keep in mind that certain areas are dicier than others. You may have heard of the Tenderloin or Civic Center – both areas have challenges to be sure. The Tenderloin in particular seems to be the best kept secret or the worst spot to live. It is all a matter of perspective. There are some wonderful, life-long residents of this part of town, however, it is definitely not for everyone.
4. Figure Out a Short-Term Living Arrangement.
It’s going to be very difficult to find an apartment without actually seeing it first and getting a feel for the neighborhood. Therefore, you should find someone to move in with while you’re searching for the perfect place. Plan a short trip ahead of your move and crash with some friends or stay with family while you get the lay of the land and sign a lease. If you need a place to stay, you can always try an AirBNB where you should be able to find a couch for about $50/ night or a bed for $100 – $150 a night. Or look for a last minute deal online where there is nearly always something to be found for $100-$150/night at a reasonably good hotel.
5. It’s Time to Pack Up.
Find a reliable moving company like Cummings Moving Company. They’ve been serving the San Francisco area since 1969 and they are licensed and fully insured. Don’t take any chances with your belongings. You want someone who knows what they’re doing, especially if you’re moving across the country. There are significant difficulties getting a truck through San Francisco and parked safely -and legally! A mover you trust to do a great job gives you peace of mind and having your belongings show up on time and in perfect condition makes your life so much easier. Oh, and the stairs – for goodness sake, let the mover deal with that.
6. Prepare the Paperwork Needed.
Your landlord will require a lot of paperwork from you. They may include some or all of the following:
• Contact info for past landlords the last 2- 3 years
• Copy of your full credit report
• A reference from your past landlord
• Pay stub or offer letter proving you have the ability to pay your rent.
• A check covering the first and last month, along with your security deposit
This is a little overboard but having these items ready will increase the chances of you getting the place that you want. There’s a law in San Francisco that the landlord has to take the first applicant that is qualified. With your paperwork in order, you will be that “qualified” person.
7. Narrow a Place Down.
Once you’ve identified the neighborhood in which you want to live, it’s time to narrow your search. Now you have to find the apartment that will meet all your needs in that particular neighborhood. Use real tools like Padmapper and Lovely that have added search map features.
8. Jump On It!
If you see a potential listing that catches your eye, call right away and set a time to see it. If you can get there within minutes of your call, DO IT! Once you find something that you like, jump right in and don’t hesitate. There will be someone right behind you that will take the place if you don’t. Avoid attending an open house for an apartment – there, you can expect to compete with a ridiculous amount of people!
9. Finding a Place in a Tough Market.
If you feel that finding a place to live in San Francisco is a huge undertaking, it is. If you don’t have the paperwork ready or end up going to an open house, you may find yourself very frustrated. Take the time to get prepared and be ready to dive into the apartment search process. Commit to the effort it takes to find your ideal place and you should find one fairly quickly. Despite the influx of people moving into the area, there’s something for everyone in a city this size. Good luck and try to stay cool, calm and collected.
Cummings Moving Company | Residential & Small Business Moving & Storage | San Francisco Movers
Cummings Moving Company is a family owned and operated moving & storage company proud of its well-established reputation in San Francisco and throughout the region – reflected in their extended residential, small business and Realtor referrals. The company is a female, minority, and veteran-owned and operated moving company with over 45 years of exceptional client service – spanning the entire country and beyond. For more information about quality, stress-free moving, in San Francisco please call 415-387-4000 or from the Peninsula call 650-629-3000. Request a Free Moving Quote HERE or continue to explore our website and San Francisco Blog.
The advice on our website and blog is provided as a courtesy and is intended for informational purposes only. It is offered as-is with no warranty expressed or implied. We hope it provides you with helpful information that you can use.