Moving to Birmingham, advice on rentals?

Ask Birmingham

I landed a tech job in Birmingham area and will be moving there in a few months. I figure for the first year, I'll just rent an apartment while I get my bearings, and then decide where to buy permanently. I know that asking for general advice is too broad, so I'm mostly curious if you have intuition around price range and how to choose a rental property, particularly as I probably can't even visit before committing to moving in (assuming COVID doesn't subside soon).

For example, looking on Zillow, I see that a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom, 2000sqft, place is around $5-$8K / month. Is that typical? (I can afford that, but it's a lot of money down the drain.) I hear that rental prices should be fairly low given COVID. I'm not sure if there are sites outside of Zillow to compare to as well?

Alternatively, I could live outside of Birmingham and commute in, but I figure if I'm renting for a year then I'd bias towards having a shorter commute.

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