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I'm in the US and relocating across the country for work. I am not able to go to the new location to see apartments in person nor does my employer offer any relocation assistance. In this situation, how does one find an apartment or rental house? Without seeing a property how does one ensure they are not simply being scammed by someone posting a fake apartment ad and asking for deposit money or personal information for a background check?

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    Rent somewhere for the first few weeks (hotel, AirBnB etc), move there, then hunt once you're in the city? – Gagravarr Sep 29 '15 at 13:55
  • Have you tried the usual suspects? apartments.com, rent.com, realtor.com? – Karlson Sep 29 '15 at 14:42
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A secure first step might be to find yourself a real-estate agent that can assist you on location. They will generally be able to do all of the paperwork for you and it usually shouldn't cost you anything either. (They tend to take a payment from the landlord for finding them a tenant - at least that's what it was like for us.)

Now, you need to be sure you find a reliable agent - so stick to some bigger recognisable agencies in the area and you should be fine.

I would still strongly advice to book a hotel for 2 weeks and go around looking for a place (using an agent will make it easier to find listings in this case as well). Two weeks could be enough time to find "something", but that will depend on where in the US you are planning to go.

And finally - you know that the landlords (and real estate agents) face the same problem as you. Without ever meeting you, how do they know you are not making everything up and I never heard of a tenant asking the landlord for a background check (it's usually the other way around to make sure you have an income to pay the rent).

In the end, I was told you usually have to see the place before they give it to you, since they don't want you to turn it down last minute. (They even asked my wife and me to show up together, because if she has objections, it's best to know before picking a place.) So, at least for us, there was no way to find a proper place without showing up in person.

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