How to Find a Rental in Madison

When people ask our Relocation Team what we do for a living, we tell them we help people relocate to Madison. Sometimes we get a follow up question, “What does that mean?” The answer is complicated. 

What our Relocation Team does each day depends on the person we are helping. We take our cues from our transferees, and every transferee is different. Whether we are babysitting hamsters (true story), making up a bed in temporary housing, or touring a visitor through one way streets in downtown Madison, the services we provide never look the same.

One services we are asked about often is rental assistance. If you are a conscious and living among humans, there is a good chance you have heard that the housing market can be tricky. For the record, the challenges buyers face in today’s housing market are the unique result of a combination of circumstances that have played out in recent history. That being said, challenges with housing are NOT unique. Challenges are part of the process. We LOVE challenges!

Challenges in the real estate market have pushed the demand for rentals in the Madison area to new levels. Despite fluctuations in the housing market in the last decade plus, high demand for rentals has stayed constant. Currently, vacancy rates average about 4%. Translation: if you find a vacant rental you like, grab it. That unit won’t be vacant long.

Over the years, as our Relocation Team has helped hundreds of people find rentals in Madison. We’ve learned a few things. We would love to share five of things we’ve learned with below:

Now you see it, now you don’t

Availability changes rapidly. If you see a unit and you like it, don’t hesitate. Soon it will be gone.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork

Standard practice for property managers will require you to submit to a credit check, supply a rental/housing history, and to have a driver’s license and/or photo I.D.. A security deposit of a half or full month’s rent and will be due at the signing of a lease. The deposit will be returned to you at the end of the lease term, provided you haven’t hosted frat parties or torn down a wall to create an open concept. Property managers love a tenant who leaves the property as they found it.

One or two pets are welcome. Running a zoo is frowned upon

Over the last decade, Madison property managers seem to becoming more and more friendly to our beloved pets. Many pet friendly properties have been built even in the last five years. Some properties even have special amenities like dog washing stations, pet runs and free dog treats too. That being said, a two pet limit is standard. The pet owner with two dogs, two cats and a bird will be critically challenged in their search for a rental. In the case of a half dozen pets, finding a willing private homeowner willing to rent their property is typically the only option available.

Avoid moving in a blizzard

Nobody knows better than our relocation team that timelines can be beyond a transferee’s control. If it is possible to move between April – November, property managers prefer it. In fact, some properties do not allow leases to expire in winter months.

Relax. You will find something

Our Relocation team knows well there is nothing quite so stress inducing as a mad search for a rental with strict parameters and a tight timeline, but we can say with confidence that we think you will find what you need. Developers in Madison continue to build more housing in an attempt to keep up with demand; we happen to think there are some darn good choices here. It may take you a bit of time and resourcefulness, but we believe you will find what you need. 

And, you can always call us for help!

Restaino’s Relocation Team: Gail Johnson, Miki Smith and Nadya Nahirniak Hansen