Atlanta is a large city with many suburbs. Traffic is heavy and travel times can be long for even short distances. We recommend that you start looking closest to where your employment will be located. You can use Google Maps or MapQuest to check various travel times.
You can rent a home for about the amount of an apartment. Because Atlanta has no geographic constraints, there is a lot of land for houses. Therefore, you can have the additional advantages for a yard and additional space, not to mention, no noise from upstairs or below.
Not all landlords are pet friendly. If you have a pet, one of your first questions should be do you allow pets and what is the deposit, I have a NAME YOUR PET BREED.
Look to rent from a professional property management company. To manage multiple people’s rental properties in Georgia, a landlord must be a licensed real estate agent and be under a Broker that allows property management services. A lot of real estate agents can help you find a home but few are allowed to manage – collect the rent, take care of repairs, etc. We recommend that you work with a professional property manager so that you are protected. You can easily confirm a firm’s license by going to the Ga Real Estate Commission.
Most home rentals will require a minimum of a twelve month lease. If you need something shorter term, you should look at an apartment. Some homes will do shorter term leases in the fall with a higher rental rate or deposit. No harm in asking, but the cost to put a home in rental service versus an apartment is much higher.
A lot of homes are self shown or shown by the landlord. Most agents won’t want to drive you around to show you rental homes unless they are a property management company with a lot of available homes. So the best way is to research the area where you want to be and then search for rental homes in that area. Set appointments with the landlord and view yourself. Rentals.com & RentalHomePros.com are great sites that professional managers & landlords use to attract people looking for homes.
Professional landlords & apartments are going to pull your credit and ask for an application fee for processing. Typically the fee is $35-$50 per adult. To make sure that you are not wasting your time and money, ask for the rental application guidelines before you even view the home if possible, certainly before you apply. Discuss any concerns with the landlord in advance. Every landlord has a different level of criteria. Most landlords will look at more than credit to determine if a tenant can qualify. Income to rent/debt ratios, employment stability, rental verification, & criminal background checks are among some of the types of evaluation that may be done. It is not uncommon for application fees to be paid in certified funds like a cashier’s check or money order.
One month security deposit is typical, but some landlords require more if you don’t meet their application guidelines, but are borderline.
Don’t pay your security deposit until you have a move in evaluation and a written report of any damages. Take pictures of any serious damage to document the condition of the home.
Purchase a renter’s insurance policy. While landlords have insurance that cover damage to the structure, should there be a flood or other damage to the home, a tenant’s personal property is not covered. It can also protect you for any tenant caused damages as well.