Between millions of listings, agents, and applications, renting a property can be a daunting task. If you don’t follow a process, or if you are new to the rental landscape, you can easily get lost and overwhelmed. However, simple things like doing a little research or using an online rental application with tenant verification built-in can make finding a new apartment significantly easier.
Thankfully for you, we have compiled a few tried and true tips that will help you stay organized and on-task in your search for a new place to live.
The Internet - Online Rental Applications, Listings, and More
In today’s digital age, renting an apartment has never been easier. From using an online rental application to finding the perfect apartment through an online listing, here is how you can use the internet while looking for a rental property.
Online Rental Applications
One of the most time-consuming and tedious parts of renting is filling out applications. If you’re in a competitive rental market, chances are you are going to have to fill out multiple applications, each with the same exact information on it.
Instead of wasting your time and pushing the boundaries of legible handwriting, you should use an online rental application that saves your information after each submission. In some cases, you can even get a discounted application fee if you apply to multiple properties. If you want to save even more time, find an online rental application that includes a tenant verification as well.
In addition to online rental applications, the internet can provide you with plenty of resources for finding an apartment to live. You can browse through millions of listings online without leaving your couch. While you may get lost looking through all the properties, you are able to filter places by size, location, and price in order to see all the apartments that are right for you.
Do Your Homework
Thought you were done with homework didn’t you? Thankfully, there are no fractions, Chinese Dynasties, or book reports involved with this kind of homework. Instead, this work consists of attending open houses, talking to your agent, preparing for tenant verification,and researching the area the property is located in.
For obvious reasons, you should never apply for a property until you physically see it. However, an open house can give you much more than just an idea of what your future home will look like.
An open house gives you an opportunity to establish a relationship with the listing real estate agent. You can show the listing agent that you are committed, and chances are if you make a good impression, they will remember you when they come across your online rental application.
Before they approve you for a property, most Realtors will run a tenant verification consisting of a credit report, background check, and eviction history. Some services allow this information to be shared with applicants, so if you have good credit and no eviction/criminal history, you can use this to negotiate a lower security deposit or monthly rent.
You should be prepared for a credit check before you apply to a property. Use a free credit report service to see if you have any negative items that you can fix or dispute. The last thing that you want is to be declined by during the tenant verification process because of something you could’ve prevented.
In addition, you want to make sure that the listing agent or landlord run a credit check that has a soft inquiry as opposed to a hard inquiry. Hard inquiries will damage your credit score by up to five points, and while that might not seem like much, it can add up if you apply to multiple properties.
When you attend the open house, take some time afterward and check out the neighborhood. Find out where all the happening restaurants and hang-out spots are, try and get an idea of what the traffic is like (especially if you’re there during rush hour), and if you’re in a complex, walk around for a bit. In addition to the amenities of the complex, see if there are a lot of noisy neighbors and ample parking spots as well.
You should also be wary of the crime rate as well. A simple Google search of "[neighborhood] crime rate" should give you some results regarding the neighborhood crime.