Rentals in Palo Alto>Question Details

sherri, Renter in Palo Alto, CA

When should I plan a trip to look at house rentals in Palo Alto/ Los Altos for a late December lease start?

Asked by sherri, Palo Alto, CA Sat Oct 20, 2012

I would ideally like start date between December 22 - Jan 5, but I don't imagine many people move so close to holiday time, so I could start a little earlier if necessary. I was hoping to come look at places the week of Nov 12, but I notice most of the stuff on Craigs list says it's available immediately. Does anyone start looking for a tenant more than a month in advance? When would be the best time to come look? Thank you.

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Juliana Lee,MBA’s answer
Start watching Craigslist.org, Trulia.com, and MLSListings.com now to learn what's available. You may decide to start paying rent to reserve a home you like even before you are ready to move. Trying to find a home in a week or two can be done but it is unlikely to give the best results.

Good luck,

Juliana Lee
cell: 650-857-1000
Web Reference: http://julianalee.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 22, 2012
Low rental inventory is a problem around here and end-of-year moving date is not helping. More people move during the summer and that creates additional inventory.

In your case November 12 seems reasonable. Continue looking for a place on the web sites and call them when you see something interesting. You never know what the conversation may bring up.

I myself may have a rental in Palo Alto available around that time but it is too early to tell...
Web Reference: http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 20, 2012
With the extremely low rental inventory, I would start looking immediately. Rentals are scarce in Los Altos and Palo Alto, so you will need to be proactive and vigilant. Good luck and happy house hunting.

Regards,

Eric Boyenga
650.947.4645
http://www.SiliconValleyRealEstate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 20, 2012
Hi Sherri,

“When should I plan a trip to look at house rentals in Palo Alto/ Los Altos for a late December lease start?”

I completely agree with Terri regarding current demand; rental property throughout most of the Bay Area is a hot commodity these days and the recent modest uptick of jobs growth activity is further stoking demand. I would start immediately as soon as you are able.


“I would ideally like start date between December 22 - Jan 5, but I don't imagine many people move so close to holiday time, so I could start a little earlier if necessary.”

With former owners being displaced due to distressed situations rental rates have increased and so has the use of lease contracts. From your search perspective this is not a bad thing because Landlords will be notifying tenants of any lease increases, which should lead to some additional availability that might be advertised well in advance of the lease expiration.


“I was hoping to come look at places the week of Nov 12, but I notice most of the stuff on Craigs list says it's available immediately.”

Actually, I would still call these contacts, they may have other property available or may know of another Landlord that does!


“Does anyone start looking for a tenant more than a month in advance?”

Yes, the “word-of-mouth marketing” many times comes before an ad is ever created.


“When would be the best time to come look?”

I would say once you have a “lead”; however, I suppose it depends on whether you are local to the area or not. If you are out of area with the possibility of multiple plane trips a possibility, you might consider negotiating a mo-to-mo agreement with an "extended stay" hotel to reduce overall search expenses. See: http://san-jose-extended-stay.biz-stay.com/home.cfm?subcity=…


Unfortunately, rental scams are rather prevalent these days. You have to be careful; many would-be Renters have provided deposits only to find the person who placed the ad did not even own the property and their deposit has vanished.

If you find yourself interested in a property where the owner/Landlord cannot meet in person I have a few suggestions before you provide a deposit:

a) See if you can find the property using the “owners” name at http://www.blockshopper.com
b) Check the County’s online public tax records to confirm the property's ownership https://www.sccassessor.org/index.php/online-services/proper…
c) Drive by the property for clues regarding the property’s habitation.
d) Contact a Realtor® and ask if they can confirm any recent transaction history by the "owner".
If you do meet the "owner" in person ask to "take a quick peek" at their Driver's License to confirm identity (although, if they are a "Scammer" they might have fake one!)

In addition, you may want to also ask “your Realtor friend” from above to research whether a Notice of Default or Trustee Sale has been recorded, which would indicate the owner may lose the property to foreclosure. Regarding this last point see, you would have some protections via:

CA's "Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act" - need to know info!
http://www.trulia.com/blog/steve_ornellas_mba_re_mastersgri/…

These sites may be of help in finding a rental:
http://www.rentometer.com
http://www.rentalhomesplus.com
http://hotpads.com
http://geo.craigslist.org/iso/us/ca

These links might also prove useful:
http://docs.Steven-Anthony.com/Landlord-TenantGuideCA2010.pdf
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/renters-rights
“Your Realtor friend” can also perform a MLS search; however, many Landlords/Owners got straight to the web these days.

Finally, and most importantly, stay safe and don't let the need for finding a rental overpower you gut intuition!

Best of luck with your search and subsequent move.

-Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 20, 2012
Hi Sherri,
Not sure what grades the kids are in; however, a very useful tool that will help you determine school attendance area is http://www.SchoolAndHousing.com Based on property address, this site provides attendance area schools (Public, Private and Daycares) along with useful statistics and other information you should appreciate. Note: Before moving on any rental call the School District to CONFIRM the schools the property will feed to!
As far as performance, I wouldn't be too worried about the Los Altos & Palo Alto schools if you do have to switch locations after the fact; here are the APIs of each area:
"LA" http://tinyurl.com/8wd55k2
"PA" http://tinyurl.com/9ps44pm
-Steve
Flag Mon Oct 22, 2012
Wow - thank you all for the helpful information. I am relocating back home to bay area from overseas, and problem with coming to hotel/oakwood first is i want to get the kids started in a school district where they can stay. If you have further ideas about how to manage that, I'm all ears. Thanks again.
Flag Mon Oct 22, 2012
Terri is correct. The rental market is brutal and may take you several trips to find something. I would suggest come out as soon as you can and if you can not find anything come again a few weeks later. You could also arrange to get a short term apartment in the area starting the end of Dec and then start looking for something more permanent after that. Oakwood Apartments in Palo Alto and Mountain View have short term rentals as do Southwood Apt in Palo Alto.
Marcy Moyer
Keller Williams Realty
DRE 01191194
Web Reference: http://www.marcymoyer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 20, 2012
Our rental market in Santa Clara county is in high demand. It's not too early to shop for a rental. If you are lucky enough to secure a rental before your move, you may want to consider that.

And be warned that Craigslist has a lot of scammers on it so do not send them any information until you know it to be a real person and real rental.

All the best to you.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 20, 2012
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