The New Orleans property market is fairly robust and competitive. As tourism is such big business in NOLA, investing in rental properties makes good business sense as it can be used by holidaymakers as well as longer-term New Orleans residents.
The majority of new arrivals to the city opt to rent property rather than buy, at least initially. Only once they’ve found their feet, become familiar with the various neighbourhoods and are ready to lay down roots in New Orleans do residents really start to explore the option of purchasing a home in the city.
Types of property
Anyone considering a move to New Orleans will be sure to find a rich variety of property options in the city. Architectural styles in NOLA are beautiful and unique with properties being full of character. Here are a few of the most common types of property found in New Orleans.
Apartments and Condos
Apartments and condos are a relatively new feature in New Orleans. Both are self-contained units within a larger building or complex and can be found scattered around various parts of New Orleans. In New Orleans, these tend to be pretty modern with all essential facilities available. Living in an apartment or condo is a great option for new arrivals as there is a sense of communal living. Residents share various amenities including communal fitness centres, swimming pools, gyms, gardens and laundry facilities.
Townhouses are two to four-storey buildings which tend to feature arched openings and iron buildings. They have steep side-gabled roofs made of brick or stucco. In New Orleans, townhouses are either built in the standard American style as well as a Creole-style which can be found mainly in NOLA’s French Quarter.
These humble single-storey, ground-level properties with steeply pitched roofs and stucco or wood exteriors tend to be unique to the French Quarter of New Orleans. These properties are perfect for young couples looking to get their foot on the property ladder as well as small families.
Shot-gun style houses are those most commonly seen all over New Orleans. They are usually one-storey properties but many have a second floor at the rear of the building. Shot-gun houses are very narrow structures built on brick piers with the distinctive front porches covered by a roof supported by Victorian-era columns.
Finding accommodation in New Orleans
Generally, the best place to begin the search for a new home in New Orleans will be online. Consulting reputable property portals is a great way for prospective residents to get a feel for the different types of property available in each neighbourhood, and how much to budget.
Real estate agents with knowledge of New Orleans are often another fantastic source and can assist new arrivals to familiarise themselves with different parts of the city.
Factors to consider when looking for a home in NOLA include proximity to places of work, amenities, shopping hubs and access to major roads. Lifestyle considerations will also come into play. Those moving to New Orleans with children should also consider the proximity to good public schools and space requirements when searching for a home.
Renting accommodation in New Orleans
Despite New Orleans’ increased popularity as a destination for expats and transplants from other parts of the USA, supply has managed to keep pace with demand in terms of housing stock. For this reason, new arrivals shouldn’t struggle to find a suitable home in the Crescent City.
Making an application
Once potential tenants have found a property to their liking, they’ll need to express their interest either to the agent or the landlord directly. Subsequently, credit and reference checks will be carried. Once these have come back clear, the tenant and landlord can go ahead and sign the lease. For those moving to New Orleans from outside the USA, having a US bank account and have a social security number set up before applying for rental property will certainly make life easier.
Generally, rental contracts in NOLA are valid for a year with the option to renew at the end of the initial term. At the discretion of the landlord, it may be possible to request a shorter lease which can be useful for those who need a short-term rental that’ll enable to find their feet in the city.
Before signing any contracts, renters should meticulously study the terms of their lease agreements to determine which utilities are included in the rental price. Generally, landlords cover standard utilities such as water and electricity. Optional extras such as internet, cable TV and landline telephone services are usually for the tenant's personal account.
Prospective tenants will be required to put down a security deposit to secure a rental contract. These deposits are fully refundable once the lease terminates, provided that the property is left in an acceptable state. For this reason, it is essential that tenants and landlords carry out a detailed inventory at both the beginning and end of the rental term, as damages will need to be deducted from the deposit.
Under Louisiana State Law there is no limit to the amount a landlord can charge for a security deposit. That said, typically a deposit is equivalent to a month’s rent. The law does, however, state that the deposit minus any legitimate deductions is returned to the tenant within a month of them vacating the property.
►For some insights into the most popular NOLA neighbourhoods check out our Areas and Suburbs of New Orleans page
Are you an expat living in New Orleans?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to New Orleans. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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