I will be traveling to Washington DC as a student for my MS degree this fall (Fall 2015), and I want to reserve residence online before I land in USA. I am from Pakistan, and I have not traveled abroad before except for a few days in UAE (stayed in a hotel).
The problem I am facing is related to credit/background checks. Whatever apartment renting or lease I find require credit/background check and an on-site visit. What can I, as someone from outside of USA provide to complete these checks. I have both Master and Visa credit cards of a local bank here, and I have used them in the past to make foreign payment in USA, mostly for language tests/sending test scores.
Secondly, if I am not able to secure a residence from here before leaving, how long it generally takes to find it after arriving in Washington DC? I am open for both single and sharing with roommates. I have a limited budget of about $1000 per month for rent. Please point to some good/reliable resources too? Are hostels a good alternative?
And am I even doing the right thing by trying to reserve before entering USA? Or is it better to check into a low cost hotel for 1-2 weeks and find residence during that time. I have a limited budget which is worrying me.