Earlier is better whether you're looking for a home to rent or comparing rental apartments in Alamo. Start looking about 60 days before you want to move, and get serious about signing a lease at least 30 days before the big day. You might still find a place you want if procrastination is your deal, but you could get stuck with the truly crappy instead of the cream of the crop.
Like all cities, towns, boroughs--whatever--Alamo has its share of laid-back landlords and picky types who won't trust you unless you practically give blood. Prepare for both by checking your credit report and gathering your proof of income and references. As for credit, having a good score is a definite mark in your favor. If you've dropped the ball on a payment or two, you might need a co-signer.
Don't expect many distinct neighborhoods. Forget the suburbs, if that's what you want. However, there are some ways that one area stands out from the next. Here are a few places you can pitch your tent:
Livorna Road / Vernal Drive: Have money to burn? You'll want to settle here then. This is one of the most expensive places to live in Alamo. In fact, it costs more to live here than in many other parts of California. Homes here are big, though, so you get what you pay for. Looking for apartments for rent high-rise style? Forget about it.
Danville Blvd / Las Trampas Road: New digs here might cost you a little less than in the Livorna Road / Vernal Drive area, but don't expect budget rental houses. You're more likely to find an apartment within a single family home, and you'll pay pretty dearly for it.
Westside: Parks and gated properties abound in this tree-lined neighborhood. This is a nice place to live if you love beautiful landscaping, want a little space between you and your neighbors, and don't mind spending. You'll find lots of houses and maybe even a couple of townhouses for rent here. Apartment complexes? Not so much.
Don't worry. There's plenty to do in Alamo, so living in the suburbs doesn't have to equal daily boredom. You'll find stores and shopping centers, restaurants and movie theaters. Admittedly, Alamo isn't the heart of the nightclub scene, and it doesn't have the fast-paced feel of the big city. You can still get your fix, though, with San Francisco just 28 miles away.
Interstate 680 and State Highway 24 make it easy to get around, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) means you won't always have to gas up the car. Of course, your feet can get you from some point As to some point Bs. If that's not enough exercise for you, Alamo has plenty of local parks that you can stretch and sprint in.