(KGTV) - Find a place to rent in San Diego County is difficult. There's no denying that.
You can be as prepared as possible and it may not make a difference. Sometimes it's simply first come first served with some places.
According to the San Diego County Apartment Association, San Diego's vacancy rate fell to 3.7 percent, down from 5.4 percent in Fall 2016. In Spring 2017, a one-bedroom unit rented for $1,432 on average while a two-bedroom unit went for about $1,763.
Even as vacancies for many rentals remains low, rent continues to rise - creating even more competition.
Hopefully, though, these tips will help you in your search.
Before jumping into anything, know your budget and be reasonable about what you can afford. Zillow offers a "rent affordability calculator" that allows you to plug in your monthly costs, helping renters budget their rent around their finances.
The San Diego Housing Commission also makes rental assistance available to those who qualify. According to SDHC, needy families or individuals who live or work in the City of San Diego, veterans, seniors 62 and older, the disabled and the homeless may be eligible. Rental assistance recipients pay about 30 to 40 percent of their rent, while the SDHC voucher covers the rest.
When it comes to what you can do to improve your chances, some strategies are pretty basic. For instance, having your documentation copied and ready to submit can make all the difference.
In that same vein, having letters of recommendation from previous landlords or employers could put you over the competition.
Above all, communication with a potential landlord is key. Be upfront about any finances, background check flags, or employment issues. Helping them understand what's going on in your life will lead to a better rental agreement.