Everything you need to know about moving to Greater Portland.

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Finding an Apartment

RiverPlace courtyard

RiverPlace courtyard

Photo by Allison Ferre courtesy Travel Portland

Finding an apartment anywhere can be an overwhelming process. Finding an apartment in a popular city like Portland can be even more daunting. But with a little patience and determination, you’re sure to find a neighborhood and an apartment that suits your needs.

Craigslist is the go-to option for apartment hunting in Portland. The popular listings website is used by private landlords, management companies, and renters looking for roommates and subletters, giving you the ability to search for a variety of housing situations.

Pet owners will find the apartment hunt a little extra difficult. Despite the fact that Portland is a very pet-friendly city, and a visit to any of the city parks would give you the impression that every Portlander owns one, landlords can afford to be picky with animal restrictions. Many buildings and management companies have strict rules against specific animals, like cats or dogs. Others have weight limits on pets, or required pet deposits.

Craigslist offers the option of searching specifically for cat or dog friendly properties, making it easy to narrow them down.

Other options for finding apartments include the classified sections of OregonLive, the online version of The Oregonian, and the Willamette Week, a free weekly newspaper.

To avoid an onslaught of applicants, some landlords won’t bother listing their properties online and will simply put a “For Rent” sign out front. If you have the option to walk around the neighborhoods you’re interested in, this can be an effective approach. Of course, those who are moving from out of town will have less flexibility and knowledge in terms of searching by foot. If you have friends in the area, have them keep an eye out for good deals.

When it comes to renting from homeowner landlords versus property management companies, consider the level of involvement you want from the person who owns your home. You’ll often find a more personable handling of the rental process with landlords who only deal with one or two properties. As the owners of these properties, they care about who is in them, and might be more interested in meeting the potential applicant, rather than scrutinizing their application.

On the other hand, management companies often come with more reliable resources. Some management companies allow you to pay your rent or file maintenance requests online.

You can browse property listings directly through management company websites. Some to consider are Greystar, American Property Management, Rental Management Services, and Capital Property Management. These offer a mix of apartment buildings, condos, and houses.

A rental tour service is another option, becoming more popular in today's tight rental market. Companies like Sprout Tours take the stress out of the process by matching your needs with pre-market options. They can even help you negotiate the terms so you know you are getting the best deal. 

Ultimately, the key to finding an apartment in Portland is being ready to act fast. If you can give yourself flexibility to search once you’re here by staying with friends or finding temporary residence in a vacation or short-term rental, you’ll be able to establish a better understanding of the options available to you. If that’s not an option, a little research into the neighborhoods, and a willingness to apply for something without hesitation will help, too.

Portland does offer plenty of month-to-month rental agreements. If you’re unsure of your decision, a month-to-month lease will leave you with the option to find something better in the future.