Rentals in Portland>Question Details

jlajla, Renter in Portland, OR

Having been seeking an apartment for 6 months, renting is brutal in Portland, any suggestions?

Asked by jlajla, Portland, OR Thu Oct 18, 2012

I've been looking for an apartment for 6 long months now. Each time I find a place, there have already been several people who have called, so I'm out of luck. I've mainly been looking on craigslist.

I'm a full time graduate student, 30 years old, mature, responsible, great references. And I also have a friendly 30 lb handicapped dog who needs a downstairs unit, so this makes it even more difficult. I'm also needing a place that's not too terribly far of a driving distance from PSU.

I'm becoming quiet desperate! Does anyone have any advice?


0 votes Share Flag Rentals in Portland

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It is brutal. I would search for property management companies in Portland and let a few of them know you are looking.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 7, 2012
Create a renters packet, basically a promotional packet about you as a tenant. Hand deliver it to rental agencies and potential landlords. Try to spend a few minutes creating a positive impression and a relationship. With the dog, in this market you need an advocate.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 4, 2012
Hi there Jlajla,

Being a San Francisco renter myself, I feel your pain. It's much the same situation here.

If you have a smartphone, I'd recommend using our Trulia Rental app, as it was specifically designed to help renters in swift-moving, usually urban areas.

You can create a search alert with the app, which will push an alert to you the moment a new property fitting your criteria is posted on Trulia. Also, because the alert is pushed to your phone, you can call right away and be amongst the first people to call the property manager, making your chances of finding a pad that much better.

Here is a link to our iPhone and Android apps:

You can also do searches on our website, but that won't have the same push alert feature that going through our app has.

I hope that helps, and from one renter to another, I wish you the best of luck!

Community Manager
Trulia Voices
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 23, 2012
Thanks Andrew, I appreciate the helpful advice! Thing is I'm one of the few people in America who -happily - doesn't own a smartphone. I definitely feel I am being put at a disadvantage regarding this and similar apps for Craigslist though.

Are you by chance aware if there is any similar program that could be used on a laptop? I work from my computer so am on it most of the day. Thanks, Andrew!
Flag Wed Oct 24, 2012
Just out of curiosity...have you considered buying vs renting? The reason I ask is that purchasing gives you a lot more flexibility on what you can/cannot don't answer to anyone but yourself. Also, interest rates are at an all time low making purchasing easier and for some, a better solution to renting.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 23, 2012
Hi nico,

thanks for the great "insider" advice. I'm going to try this strategy and see if anything comes of it. Your situation sounds like it came straight from a movie!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 19, 2012
Been there. Trouble is there are lots of people looking at the same resources. It gets frustrating. Instead walk around the neighborhood you want to live in and talk to people, especially elderly people who don't advertise on craigslist where everyone is watching anyway. Portland boomed during world war 2 because of Kaiser ship yard and housing was provided for the mobs of workers by converting every square foot including attics, basements and sheds so look at big old houses close in, knock on doors if you have to and ask. Turns out there are a ton of "illegal" units tucked away and some owners just wait until someone comes along looking for a place to live either by word of mouth or in our case by chance.

My wife and I moved here in 1990 and ran into the same situation you are encountering. After wasting our time competing with everyone else we started asking people we ran into while walking around. It did not take long and we found a sweet old lady working out on her front porch who had 2 empty units upstairs in a big old house in Irvington. 2 years later she financed the purchase of our first home. 20 years later she financed our purchase of a duplex in Willamette Heights and wrote us into her will. Be nice, be responsible, be helpful and be ethical because it will be to every ones benefit. Good luck and happy hunting.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 17, 2012
Hi Jlajla,

I have found that going through more localized searches can be benificial when looking for a rental. I know The Oreginian has thier marketplace online classifieds. I know how hard it can be when by the time you call on that craigslist ad thier phone has already been blowing up.

Look for "outside of the box" places to search as well post what you are looking for. I think the internet is wtill great for finding places to rent but dont forget to look for better ways to find the new listings before they hit craiglist. I use facebook groups, online local newspaper and college websites, and good old fasion fliers on corkboards to name a few.

Good luck and happy hunting!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 26, 2012
Great Joe, Thanks, I'll start doing that! I guess I thought newspapers weren't used so often these days, but I'll start checking out their online classifieds..thanks for the all the tips!
Flag Fri Oct 26, 2012
That wouldn't work for me b/c I currently have one more year left of graduate school and then afterwards have work outside of the country for one year. Then afterwards that will begin a PhD program, but no set city yet.

I have heard of several people confronting this issue who have been, in a way, forced to purchase b/c they are unable to find a rental unit-let alone an affordable rental unit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 23, 2012
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