How-to Monday: Apartment hunting
The Zenith in Baltimore. Photo taken by Amy Davis, Sun photographer.
Yes, I see you out there, Baltimore-area renters. I know you feel ignored, what with all the home-sales news out there. On second thought, maybe you feel relieved that you're renting. But either way this post is for you alone.
That's right, homeowners. Move along. This is not the post you're looking for.
Now: Here's how to harness the power of the Internet to avoid renting a wretched hive of scum and villainy. (And that's my last Star Wars quote of the day, I promise.)
Craigslist's Baltimore site has a corner devoted to apartments and houses for rent.
HousingMaps, which combines those Craigslist rental notices with Google Maps, lets you see at a glance where everything is located. After you choose "Baltimore" as the city, you can sort by price and click on "show filters" to pick must-haves (throw "rehab" into the keyword searcher, for instance). Click on the points for information, and it'll pop up photos if the property owner uploaded any. (HousingMaps also lets you search for property that's for sale and for sublet.)
Apartments.com's Baltimore site has you narrow your search to communities within the metro area. Figuring that a few out-of-town folks might be considering Aberdeen, I ran a search last week for two-bedrooms in that area and got 12 listings ... only one of which was actually in Aberdeen. If that's an accurate picture of the local housing market, the base realignment and closure relocatees who can't live on base are either going to have to buy or commute. (I see that The Sun's apartment search page is also powered by Apartments.com.)
Live Baltimore lists some of the apartment complexes in the city.
Rentometer tells you whether you're paying (or charging, if you're the owner) more or less than average for the area and shows comparable apartments nearby.
And finally, you can check out what renters think about local apartments at Apartment Ratings.