Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Search Beyond Formal Listings
“Leases under $3,000 per month are often not featured on the multiple listing services, which are industry databases for realtors, by realtors,” explain Matt and Kelli Isbell, realtors at Pacific Union International in Santa Monica, California.

“We encourage renters to drive around the neighborhoods that interest them and look for property management signs posted at the front of the buildings. Call the property management companies and ask about upcoming leases that have yet to go on the market. This will give you a huge advantage, and hopefully you’ll be able to sign a lease before it even goes on the market — completely eliminating the competition.”