How to Rent a San Francisco Apartment in 7 Easy Steps

We know renting an apartment in San Francisco can be a bit challenging. There are many options to choose from and many competitive renters. Whether you decided to rent with Landmark Realty or elsewhere in the Bay Area, we hope this article will help explain the necessary steps to securing your new San Francisco apartment.

  1. 1) Decide which neighborhoods you might like to live in. This article can be helpful in understanding the different San Francisco neighborhoods: Your choice might be influenced by proximity to work or school and public transportation. For a helpful trip planner where you can find the prices and routes for public transportation visit
  2. 2) Decide when you would like to move. In general, landlords are looking for someone to move in immediately but will usually hold an apartment for a certain amount of time with a security deposit. With Landmark Realty, we can hold an apartment for up to one month with a security deposit.
  3. 3) Decide what price range meets your budget.
  4. 4) Begin searching for apartments that match your criteria on Craiglist. This is the primary place to look for apartments in San Francisco. You might also check signs posted on apartment buildings in the neighborhoods you’re considering.
  5. 5) Prepare a rental packet. It can be helpful to have your application and documents ready in advance. On an application, you will usually need to provide contact information for your employment, landlord and personal references. Some documents you might add to your packet are a credit report, job offer letter, school loan offer letter, bank statements, a copy of your picture ID, etc.
  6. 6) Attend open houses and make appointments to see the apartments that match your criteria. As soon as you find a place that fits your needs, give your rental packet to the landlord and find out how long their application process takes.
  7. 7) Once your application has been approved, the landlord will ask for at least the security deposit to put the apartment on hold for you. This will usually need to be either in a cashier’s check or money order. Make sure to get a receipt and make plans for your move-in arrangements.

Happy Hunting!