1. Many prospects don’t know what they really want and then have unrealistic expectations of what that is. If you have a car then perhaps parking is of primary importance to you. If you are looking for a three bedroom unit in Shadyside with gorgeous granite counters, stainless appliances, and a Jacuzzi don’t expect to be paying less than $2,000 a month.
2. Location is key so know your neighborhoods. If you work in Bakery Square, finding something around the corner in Point Breeze may be worthwhile and more cost effective. you are coming from California and are looking for a nice quiet neighborhood you may not want to live right off of Carson Street.
3. If you see a place you really like jump on it! Assuming the best apartments rent out right away, don’t be that person who misses out on the perfect place because they waited for the weekend to see it. Also, many tenants such as students request NOT to have their unit shown during nights and weekends so they can do whatever it is that students do. A good leasing agent will be available in the early evening to give you a personal tour.
5. Now that it is no longer a renter’s market, you may want to consider that many other renters will also be aggressive in their search. On average we show each unit three to five times before it is taken. If you find a unit you like and CAN SEE YOURSELF CALLING IT YOUR HOME, be ready to fill out the application, provide an ID, and deliver a deposit. Essentially you are wasting time if you cannot quickly come up with the funds to hold a place.
6. Most landlords request a tenant to make three times the amount their rent is going to be. It is a business and any smart owner is going to actively ensure they will be receiving their rent each month. Proactive tenants will understand that there are many bills associated with daily living. Credit card payments, student loans, cell phone bills, and utilities are as common as going out for a drink or catching a summer blockbuster.
7. The key to a good interview is ask questions in a conversation format. Here some common questions amidst a discerning discussion:
· Why are you most interested in renting this unit? Any answer involving desperation may suggest you will be miserable and thereby make your landlord miserable throughout your rental term.
· Where are you living now and why are you looking to move? “I hate my landlord, we fight all the time” is not going to be received well.
· What kind of environment are you looking for? If you plan on hosting parties or enjoy playing the drums at night you may not want to live in a building with small children. The same thing goes for the opposite end of the spectrum – if you are an engineering student with an intense study schedule you may not want to live next to a frat house in South Oakland.
8. Be ready to ask important questions Remember, as much as a landlord is interviewing you, you’re interviewing them too. Feel free to ask about their maintenance procedures, neighbors, costs of utilities, and other important details regarding your tenancy. There is nothing wrong with a leasing agent not knowing an answer to one of your questions as long as they make an attempt to get that information to you at some point.
9. Any decent Landlord is going to check into you. Bad credit, history of eviction, caught doing something criminal, or even getting a bad reference from your most recent landlord will hurt your chances. Misrepresenting yourself or trying to hide something will lose any chance you may have had.
10. If a potential tenant looks like their life is a trainwreck, they most likely will be overlooked for a more professional prospect.