Finding the Perfect Rental

We have all done the Craigslist rental search, sometimes finding gems, sometimes finding things we would rather not have. (Did I mention the time I stumbled across a nudist hippy commune? Ummm, no thank you, I’ll go now.) I have been blessed with some amazing rentals over the years, and have found some methods that seem to work tried and true.

First, define where you want to live. My biggest thing has always been living close to the ocean, in a metro area, so for me, being able to walk to the beach is essential. Define where you want to live within a few mile radius, and then begin to narrow it down.

Search for listings with and without photos. I used to eliminate all non-photo searches, thinking if they didn’t post pictures, the place couldn’t be that great. I was so wrong! I found an incredible property on the water at the Gold Coast, at 70% of market value from a listing of about three lines and no pictures.

Use detailed search terms. This is probably the best thing for narrowing down properties. Don’t just search for "Honolulu," or "North Shore;" make your search as specific as possible. Find out what the locals call the neighborhood, search for street names, landmarks, and nearby parks. You’d be surprised how poorly some people advertise their space, and this will help you narrow down your search to exactly where you want to live. For example, when I was looking for that place on the Gold Coast, I searched for “Diamond Head,” “Kaimana Beach,” “Kapiolani Park,” “Coconut” and, of course, “Gold Coast.”

Use the map feature on Craigslist. I love that they have added a map feature, but proceed with caution. Many rentals don’t list coordinates, and so won’t show up on the map, and, for my latest rental, the map was miles off somehow. (But the property was perfect!)

And of course, search within your price range. No need to be finding gorgeous rentals that are thousands above what you can afford!