It's happened to everyone: they find the PERFECT place, apply for the apartment, and don't get the lease.
When you are applying for an apartment or rental home, you must be aware that you are actually interviewing to get the place and the landlord is deciding among various candidates... just like you are deciding between your options. You want to put your best face forward when you are talking to a property manager or a landlord about renting their place. They are responsible for the safety and security of their property, so they want to make sure that they fill it with the best person or people they can. Therefore, you must show the property manager that YOU are their ideal tenant. But how?
To make sure that you get the place you want, follow some of these tips and tricks:
Treat It Like an Interview
How do you show up for a job interview? You dress respectably and appropriately, with hair combed, lookin' good. The same goes for when you go to an open house to meet the landlord and tour an apartment. You want to convey that you are a responsible, clean, neat, and respectable person that will treat the property correctly. As you know, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Better make it good.
Ask Relevant Questions
It is important that the landlord understands that you are knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to renting homes. You don't have to ask thought-provoking, brain-teasing questions, just get the information that you know you need when you meet the landlord. Ask about utilities and trash pick-up, but don't ask about how ornery the neighbors are and whether they care whether you throw parties or not.
Appear Responsible and Self-Sufficient
It's the truth: when landlords are sorting through their potential tenants, they are looking for people who are responsible AND who will be able to take care of themselves. Sometimes, when applying for an apartment or rental home, it is beneficial to stress how independent you are... but don't lie! However, if you are very handy or know people who are, there is no harm in letting the property manager know that you will be able to take care of a lot of the problems that may arise with your house on your own.
Go After It
If you want it, get it! Once you realize that you want a place, immediately tell the landlord that you are interested and willing to sign a lease. There are many times when playing "hard to get" is just fine, there are other times when it is just going to backfire. Chances are that if you are competing with other people, the landlords aren't going to lower your rent, so trying to play one property's rent off another isn't going to be your best option. I have walked into an open house where almost a dozen people were interested and looking, figured I wanted to rent the townhouse, and closed the deal less than an hour later... before the open house was even over. How? I knew what I want and told the landlord who was showing the property that I wanted to rent it. He told me to wait and think about it, so I called 10 minutes later saying that I would take it. Sometimes aggressiveness is your best tactic.
Bring Everything You Need to Sign
Be prepared to sign a lease on the spot. This means bring EVERYTHING you need and have all of the information that is going to be required of you. (For the complete list, see What to Bring to an Open House.) What you must do and have when you go to sign a lease includes:
For the application:
- Bring your driver's license
- Know your social security number
- Have proof of pay stubs
- Know your employer's address and phone number
- Have your current landlord's number
- Have asked for references prior to writing them down on the application
- Transfer enough money into your account to cover the first month's rent + security deposit + credit check
- Bring 3 checks for the aforementioned expenses
- Have everyone who is going to be living in the house present to sign
- If you need a guaranteer for your rent, make sure they are present as well
- If you have a guaranteer, they must have their drivers license and their social security number
You can never be over-prepared when you go to look for a place, so be prepared, be respectful, and go get your place!