It might help to understand why you would prefer to deal directly with the owner. Remember that the owner has his best interests in mind and he knows this business. Using a Realtor offers you many free benefits that the average renter typically cannot provide to himself. Your Realtor should be very knowledge about the area you looking in, the availablility of inventory, how to best prest your application and supporting documents, how to structure your lease, how to negotiate the best terms possible, etc.
Based on the average buyer or renter that I meet in my professional life, most of these people are best served by trusting a qualified Realtor. Real Estate, like many businesses, is not a good Do-It-Yourself business.
I am a REALTOR here in the South Bay and have represented tenants in leasing homes. I happen to know of a few homes here in Harbor City that are available. If you are still in the market to lease in Harbor City give me a call. There is no charge for my services, the landlord /owner pays my commission.
Bankers Realty Exclusive, Inc
CA DRE Lic #01239118
If you would rather deal with the owner, try http://www.westsiderentals.com or Rent.com. There may be a fee.
Otherwise I would pick preferred neighborhoods and drive by to see if there are any for rent by owner signs. Also landlords/owners put newspaper ads.
I agree with John about Craig's List.
Prudential California Realty
I understand the desire to deal directly with the owner. They get to know you and you get to know them. Sometimes this is helpful. Here are a few reasons why you are better off being represented by you own agent;
1. You do not pay for representation. The home owner/landlard pays for your representation.
2. You will be leasing from a home owner/landlord who understands the benefit of being represented by a professional and is willing to pay for that higher level of service.
3. Your real estate consultant will be able to look at information about the property that you may not have access to. In this day and age, where scams abound and/or many home owner/landlords are in default and may lose their house to foreclosure soon after you move in, an industry insider who can guide you away from these properties could save you lots of money and heart ache.
4. If you have some credit challenges (as many do these days), being represented by a consultant who can put the best face on your credit situation could be the difference between getting the house and not getting the house.
If any this makes sense to you, then you might decide to interview local, South Bay real estate agents. Please feel free to contact me to discuss your goals and dreams. I would be happy to help.
Dare to Dream.
Shel-lee Davis, QSCÂ®
Certified Distressed Property Expert â€“ CDPEÂ®
Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource â€“ SFRÂ®
Certified HAFA Specialist â€“ CHSÂ®
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
If you are determined to do this on your own, then try westsiderentals.com, trulia.com or realtor.com
Be wary of Craigslist scams - there have been many cases where properties have been offered for lease on Craigslist by someone other than the owner, and they are just trying to scam people out of deposit and rent money. Be sure you know who you are dealing with! That is where an agent protecting your interests comes in handy - agents are paid by the seller anyway so it doesn't cost buyers or renters anything for the representation.
Good luck in your search!
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage