Before you start looking for your ideal rental, make a list of the features you must have, would like to have, and don’t need at all. This will instantly help you narrow down your choices. Crucial to rental hunting in the Bay Area in particular is considering the importance of features like parking (including covered parking, garage parking, and reserved spots), in-home or on-site washer and dryer, backyard/ patio/ deck space, and overall square footage. These three factors alone will do a lot to point you towards the right rental.
For example, it can be hard to find a condo in San Francisco that comes with parking (though we do manage a few!), and very large homes with lots of square footage and backyard space are easier to find the further you get from the downtown areas of major cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.