Before you even start looking, make sure you have your pre qualification information ready.
The three pieces of information I have all my rental clients put together are:
1. Credit Report w/ Credit Score - I use http://www.experian.com/ , they charge 1 dollar, but then you have to cancel your subscription or they will charge you a monthly maintenance fee
2. Two Pay periods pay stubs from your employer, they serve as a verification of employment
3. Bank statement w/proof of funds, generally with at least 1 1/2 months rent for a security deposit.
Having the above documents together will allow you submit an application. They are not always required, however if they are submitted with your application of intent to lease you will look like a more qualified applicant.
In regard to the market, clean rentals go quick, depending on the location some in a matter of days. That is why it is important to be ready to make an offer on something you like.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more about the process.
Karen Paytas, GRI, CMS
Real Living Kee Realty