I remember moving to Lemoore, CA and searching and viewing dozens of rentals and to my dismay, many did not meet my standards or expectations. This area does not lack for nicer homes, but finding them was as rough as going to the commissary on a pay day. The people in this town know the standard BAH, and charge it even when the home is lack luster. I know this is the case in many military towns, so how do you find a home that is worth your BAH? Here are my tips to finding the gems in your area and keeping sane while squished into temporary housing that's kitchenette is lacking, the room is dark, your kids are fighting and you have not had a moment alone since the move started...
I found the house we rented by driving around town looking for rental signs and calling the numbers proudly displayed in the yard; albeit, this is not the most efficient nor effective method, but it has its advantages. I got to know my way around town, I saw neighborhoods I was interested in, and knew the neighborhoods I did not want to live in (across the street from a recycling and waste center? No thanks). Sometimes, the time it takes to do this is not available, or you need to find a home before you actually arrive at your new duty station. Here are some quicker - do ahead methods (if the your orders give you any advanced notice):
Pick up a few local newspapers and call the agencies in town (if you don't have access to the newspapers an internet search of "real estate" and your new zip code will work too). Ensure to be equipped with requirements you desire in a rental and they can tell you immediately if they have anything meeting your criteria, and if they do not, they now have your contact information, in case anything new comes on the market. Here are some great examples of criteria, suggested by USAA member in this discussion:
Use websites like Militarybyowner.com and AHRN.com. I found more reliable rental listings (for example, when the description read "quaint home with unique landscaping", it didn't actually mean one bedroom with a yard that has been over run by weeds and old bicycles) on these sites versus Craigslist.com.
How do you find the perfect rental? Please share your experiences and tips in the comments!
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