First off, this article is mostly geared toward foreigners looking to find a place in Beirut. And if you're one of those wealthy individuals looking for an apartment in the six, dare I say seven figure range, I have no idea how you got to this website or what you're still doing here. Leave now. There is nothing for you in this proudly ghetto digital 'hood.
As for the rest of you, let me preface this list by saying that unless you know someone in Lebanon, it will be pretty much impossible to get an apartment hooked up for yourself if you're not physically here. If you think you found a place through a listing you saw on Craigslist or some other website, it's probably a scam.
Now, if you're headed to Lebanon, have no where to stay and need a quick solution, check out our comprehensive list of Hotels in Lebanon (the budget-conscious among you should narrow your search to extended stay hotels in the search option bar to the left). Also, I would go ahead and personally recommend Saifi Urban Gardens. It's the closest thing you can find to a hostel in Lebanon except it's better because it belongs to an Arabic language institute along with the very chill Cafe Em Nazih (where you can get delicious home-cooked meals) and a rooftop bar called Coop D'Etat which offers pretty sweet views and has a regular clientele of very cool people [wink, wink]. Also there's always couchsurfing.
Now on to the apartment hunt.
1. Find a Local
This recommendation holds especially true if you don't speak Arabic.They don't necessarily have to help you in the search process, but once you do have some phone numbers and/or potential apartments to visit, ask your Arabic-speaking friend or acquaintance to initially communicate on your behalf with the landlord or whoever is renting out the place. A local can potentially help you negotiate a lower rent and, at the very least, help you avoid the likely scenario of getting taken advantage of (read: paying an inflated rent) for the sheer fact that you're a foreigner.
2. Walk it Out
Pick a neighborhood you'd like to live in and just start walking around. Walk into apartment buildings (there's usually a doorman living on the ground floor. Find that guy and ask if any apartments are available). Also, look for key players in the neighborhood. Parking guys tend to be the eyes and ears of any neighborhood. Don't be afraid to ask if they know of anything. I once found an apartment by simply asking the guy who owned the corner market.
Also, there are always signs up at message boards and kiosks around and on college campuses (AUB, LAU, USJ, NDU, LU) with announcements about apartments and roommates.
3. The Apartments in Beirut Facebook Group
Anytime someone asks me if I know of any available apartments, I always tell them to check out this Facebook group first. It's truly an excellent resource for anyone looking for or looking to rent out an apartment. People are constantly posting new listings so be quick about it! Apartments go fast.
Another decent website I would recommend is Ahlein.net. But for the love of god watch out for scams! If you're dumb enough to transfer money to the account of someone you've never met, let alone try to rent out an apartment you've never seen in real life, I feel sorry for you.
4. The Real Estate Classifieds Section in Waseet
If you don't read Arabic, find someone who does. You may find a good number of leads through the real estate classifieds section of Waseet.
5. Find a Simsar or Real Estate Agent
This is by far the most expensive option because it requires you to hand over a certain amount of money (usually one month's rent) to the guy who found you your apartment. But it can take a lot of hassle out of searching on your own. But again, this is really more for people who have some extra money to spend and are going to be really picky about where the apartment is and what amenities it has. Happy apartment hunting, y'all!
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