Narrow Down Your Rental Search Using These Simple Tips

May 10, 2018

Few actively seek out an opportunity to search for a rental unit, but the task comes to almost everyone at some point. One problem is that a rental search is not one task, but a multiplying list. The process can become so encompassing that a choice doesn't include some of the renter's important criteria.

In a comprehensive rental search, the options and possibilities—good and bad—can seem to grow beyond the list into a scrawl of warnings and missed chances. Decision making becomes difficult when too many choices are to be made.

The simple answer is to shrink the list of possibilities--while making sure the most important criteria is included. A simple four-step process can help in narrowing a rental search to a manageable project. The criteria involved may be evident, but it makes sense to go over the basics to make sure nothing is missed.

  1. Price
  2. Location
  3. Amenities
  4. Profile

The Four Important Steps to Narrowing your Rental Search


The first criteria to narrow is price. It is obviously not recommended to waste time looking at deals you cannot make. Figure out what can be spent and keep the selection within those parameters.

When looking at a specific rental, add up all the associated monthly costs across the lease period. If the chosen area requires a higher price, make an evaluation of the efforts and sacrifices needed to adjust. Pricing may be revisited as a search progresses.


Location is often a critical part of the criteria when it comes to looking for a rental. Since location is related to price, there may be tradeoffs between these factors. Work out an acceptable range and be prepared to adjust as you learn more.

Narrowing a search to most desirable locations will involve decisions about daily life venues from school systems to area grocery stores. Commuting and recreation options should be checked, and the crime rate and the conditions of properties in the neighborhood area. Those with a special need, such as a medical condition, should make sure to choose an area with available service.

Many people look to rent mobile homes as a stopgap solution or for one which is cost effective. The location of these mobile home parks can be somewhere convenient or sometimes very inconvenient. Often, part of the reason mobile home rental is so cheap is that the location is outside of cities in areas without a lot of the amenities that people may wish to have around them. 


The right amenities can contribute to lifestyle quality, and are an important consideration in limiting the field of choices. After deciding which amenities are important and which are nonessential, a short list of requirements can be formalized.

There are two kinds of amenities to consider: individual and community. Individual amenities are those that exist within the rental space itself, or elsewhere for the exclusive use of the rental occupants. Fireplaces, trash compactors, granite countertops, and cedar closets are examples of individual amenities. Community amenities are shared with other area residents and should be similarly evaluated. Security or waste management may be critical, whereas a swimming pool or game room may not.


The fourth limiting search criteria is related to affiliations or lifestyles that a particular rental situation may foster or exclude. The profile of a renter takes into account social matters including aspirations, comfort and safety.

Young families will likely not seek a retirement community, and the profile of a specific renter may not be met by space in a building filled with raucous students. Even if one is willing to accept tradeoffs, it is important to be aware of the relevant community and its history.

These important but unspoken factors may not be evident in a general sales-oriented tour of rental property. Be aware of this and make the effort to investigate what it will be like to actually live in the space.

Search with Confidence

Once the important criteria is established (including price, location, amenities and profile) it becomes a matter of matching properties … and setting out to see them. By taking time to provide parameters for candidates, your search for a rental will be targeted and allow for suitable opportunities to be taken without hesitation.

The search for a rental isn't a clear path, so one must be made. Put thought into the four categories of search criteria and determine a range that works for you. Having a list that takes all four search factors into account does more than save time: it makes success easier and more certain.

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