The mostly free classified's website Craigslist is a great way to find a house or an apartment to rent. You need to be careful however, as there are a number of scammers that use Craigslist who are only interested in relieving you of your money.

Firstly, start your search as soon as possible. It can take a while to understand the property market in a particular area. Trying to get a feel for local prices can only done by visiting as many places as possible in the area you want to live. Set a budget in mind and look at places that are both below your budget and a little bit above. This well help you to gauge what you can get for your money. Agents cannot be trusted on what they say is 'market value'.

Don't pay anyone any money until you see the actual lease to the property and only pay when you are about to sign the contract.

It can be cheaper to rent a property directly from the owner, but you need to make sure the person claiming to be the owner is who they say they are, as sometimes agents pose as owners.

While you are on your property search it can be a good idea to take with you documents such as reference letters from previous landlords, proof of your current earnings and your past W2s are standard documents that are required.

If you are new to renting property, it can be a good idea to take someone who is more experienced than you.

If you plan to use a broker to help you with your property search, shop around a bit to get a feel for the amount you should be paying in fees.

While it is a good idea to look at as many properties as possible and carefully make a decision, if you are looking for an apartment in a popular area, you need to be ready to act quickly if you find a place which you like. Have all of the documentation ready to go as already mentioned.

Utilize Google's street view service to look at the properties. It can give you some idea what a property is like before you actually go to see it.

In conclusion, be very careful when dealing with advertisers on Craigslist. Do as much research you can on market values of a particular area to get an idea for yourself about the prices. Be prepared with documentation you may need such as proof of your salary and references from previous landlords. Finally, don't pay out any money until you are ready to sign the lease.