If you’re planning to move to a new city, a sublet may be a good choice for your first housing option. Blogger Danielle Corcione shares tips for Grownups on the move.

Maybe you’re considering moving to a new city. Or perhaps you’re on the fence about relocating and still in the research phase. Chances are you aren’t too familiar with this new place. That’s why you should consider a sublet space before committing to a lease in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Even if you’re on the fence about a sublet, finding any space when you’re new to town is difficult—especially if you’re browsing from a distance hundreds of miles away.

Since graduating college two years ago, I’ve moved three times for different opportunities. That means I’ve hunted for apartments a few times recently, and have curated a quick how-to about finding a sublet in a new area. If you’re a Grownup on the verge of a big move, here are my five tips to find a sublet.

1. Work your network

Connect with anyone you know that lives in the city you’re considering. Reach out to family, friends, former colleagues, old peers, etc. Even if you haven’t talked to them in awhile, they might be extremely eager to show you around. Not only can a local help connect you with people looking for roommates or to move out of their current space, they also can help you get an idea of the city’s best neighborhoods.

If you don’t know anyone, don’t be afraid to make friends or consult a travel/tour guide during your trip.

2. Visit the city if you haven’t already

I strongly discourage young professionals from moving to a new city they’ve never visited before. I’ve been there and done that—and it turned out to be a disaster. (I ended up leaving the new job within a month because I couldn’t adapt to the area.)

Even if you’ve already visited the city for a job interview, you may want to plan another visit to apartment hunt. That way, you have an opportunity to physically tour places you’ve had your eye on online.

Additionally, Zillow recommends visiting your prospective neighborhood(s) at all times of the day, so you can get a sense of how the neighborhood feels during the day and night.

3. Identify your needs and wants in a living space

If you haven’t lived independently before, it’s especially important to know what you do and do not want in a living space: Do you have a pet or would you like to have one in the future? Would you prefer a furnished space? Do you want your own bathroom? Are you comfortable with roommates or would you prefer a studio?

Additionally, know which preference is a need versus a want. For instance, if you have a dog, you need to have a pet-friendly space. However, wanting to have a dishwasher (for most people) in your kitchen would be less of a necessity and more of a luxury.

4. Research neighborhood crime data

A key part of your research includes understanding local crime rates. Check out the CrimeReports website, which is the nation’s largest collection of law enforcement agencies, to learn about your prospective neighborhood(s). On their homepage, you can search by zip code. You can also search for registered sex offenders in your prospective neighborhood(s) with the site Criminal Watchdog.

Additionally, flip through local publications to learn more about the neighborhoods you want to live in. One way to do this is to visit the Google News homepage and type in that neighborhood. Otherwise, you may want to find some local news organizations (such as newspapers, alternative weeklies, and broadcast news television stations) for further research.

5. Join Facebook groups

When it comes to housing, Facebook is the new Craigslist. Unlike Craigslist, Facebook connects you to real people rather than anonymous listings that could be scams. Start by logging onto your News Feed and type in “housing” and your prospective city to see what comes up. Likely, you will see separate groups for queer-centric housing, affordable housing, and more.

If you do end up using Craigslist after all, beware of scammers. Never give money to people you haven’t met in person and conduct background research on the real estate agents and/or landlords you meet.

Moving to a new city is fun and exciting, but it’s important to set yourself up for success when searching for an apartment. When searching for a sublet specifically, constantly research neighborhoods. Stay open minded, but understand your boundaries, especially when it comes to crime rates and basic necessities within your space. And when you do successfully find a sublet, you can continue the housing search once you’re already moved into the city and get familiar with its different neighborhoods.

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Danielle Corcione is a freelance writer located in Omaha, Nebraska. Their work has recently appeared on the Billfold, Femsplainand the Establishment.

Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.

While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.

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