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Old 01-12-2012, 11:20 AM
18 posts, read 101,981 times
Reputation: 11


I'm reading about the low vacancy rates in SF and to be honest, I'm scared *****less about being able to find a place in SF. My budget goes up to $2300 and I have a realistic idea of where I'll be able to afford and my must-haves have been whittled down pretty low :-)

I am planning an apartment hunt weekend (Fri-Sun) but now I'm thinking I should plan on staying out there longer. Some of the realtors I've spoken to have said that they've gotten 60 calls in one hour after listing a place.

Is this really the case or is it just hype?
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:45 AM
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
140 posts, read 364,057 times
Reputation: 134
It's true. I manage apartments, and have been called repeatedly with people begging for apartments - offering 1 full year paid up front. Many of these offers coming from a slew of new jobs, and new people coming in especially from India.

Make sure to arrive with pre-filled out application, printout of credit report (FICO.com is good), copy of paystub, letter verifying employment, and list of references.

Living here is worth the trouble. When I first moved here, vacancies were so few, I went door to door ringing managers offices asking if anyone was moving, and got my very first apartment using that technique. But I moved from NYC & had learned how to be aggressive.

If you don't have credit since from another country, do not worry. I rent apartments all the time to people from other countries with no credit available to report, if I like them, and they have some good references, good application, proof of employment, & don't smoke, then they will get the apartment. We encourage and like diversity in our rentals.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:06 PM
1,442 posts, read 2,368,416 times
Reputation: 650
It's very hard to find apartments, especially if you make ~$50,000 a year doing menial labor like, oh, I don't know, teaching. Because at that wage or less, you'll likely need roommates unless you want all of your income to go towards rent. So, looking for a place around $1,000 a month with roommates is a nightmare. Those that post on craigslist end up getting around 53,435 replies per posting. So, they don't even read more than a small percentage of inquiries. If they do read your inquiry, they have to like it. E.g., don't be no stupid male (70% of listings are for female only). If they read your inquiry, like it and invite you to see the place, congratulations. You'll be one of only about 20 others they show the place to. So, by my math, you've got about a 5% chance to be selected. But, don't worry. If you're not selected, just find another listing at or under $1,000/mo and rinse and repeat the above process.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:32 PM
Location: San Jose, CA
7,666 posts, read 24,598,827 times
Reputation: 3516
It's not just you, the rental market in San Francisco is bananas all the time. You might find it easier to look in the $3000 range and get a roommate, and I am not exaggerating one bit.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:48 PM
1,442 posts, read 2,368,416 times
Reputation: 650
Eh, I found a place that might fall into the "SRO" category and I'll stick with it. It's in a nice neighborhood and is clean and safe. Runs me about $850 a month.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:55 PM
Location: San Francisco
330 posts, read 617,270 times
Reputation: 321
You might also want to look into temporarily subletting an apartment (or room in a house) for a few months as a short term fix. Lots of people will rent out furnished rooms for a month or two as they go away for vacation (or for a variety of other reasons). Then you can get to know the different neighborhoods a bit better, and be in the city for an extended period of time while you do your hunting
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:43 PM
8,538 posts, read 5,062,534 times
Reputation: 5529
It's competitive but not hopelessly competitive. For a place in the hip and popular area, expect a lot of competition. However, in the supposedly less hip neighborhood, it's less crazy (and cheaper too).

Winter is a good time to shop. By summer, things are going to be crazy.
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:56 PM
218 posts, read 408,726 times
Reputation: 107
Is you guys serious? How much time would it take to find an apartment? a month?
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:32 PM
Location: A bit further north than before
1,575 posts, read 3,016,859 times
Reputation: 1285
It's a crapshoot - there are no 'agents' here like in NYC so you need to pound the pavement going to open houses and make appointments to see as many per day as you can. Depending on your budget, the neighborhood, the time of year, and just plain dumb luck you could find a place on the first try or it could take weeks.

There's a rental boom going on here because a) people like you are moving here in droves to work in tech, and b) potential home buyers are being kept in rentals because the mortgage lending process is ridiculously hard these days.

Oh, and c) building in the city/Silicon Valley is a hard sell, most neighborhoods are opposed to increasing density in their little area, so there's not a lot of new rental units coming online to fill the demand.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:32 PM
10,630 posts, read 22,413,278 times
Reputation: 6673
It's true. It really is tough. We haven't found a place yet, even in the less trendy neighborhoods. Be open to subletting or doing a temporary stay place, and definitely don't expect to find a place in a weekend. You MAY get lucky, but I wouldn't count on it. We took a temporary break from actively looking, but after about a month and a bunch of applications we have had no luck. Open houses are packed with other people, and I'm assuming most of them also have decent jobs, credit, references, etc. I don't know if it matters if you go up in price -- the competition seems fierce at all budget levels. We had thought we'd be in Manhattan, just went through the process there (which is, I think, the tightest vacancy rate in the country), and it is WAY worse in San Francisco right now. So be flexible. If you can stick your stuff in storage and live out of a suitcase for awhile you'll have an easier time. Start your job (assuming that's why you're relocating), keep an eye out for listings through friends, coworkers, signs you see on the street, etc., and just keep trying.
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