5 Tips for Renters


rentersHey Renters! I’m hearing a few things out there that may help you on your search for a new place to live.  Here are 5 Tips for Renters based on what I am seeing and hearing that I think may help you be more successful on your journey:

1. Did you know that your can call a Realtor® and that in most cases he or she will not charge you a fee to help you find a place to rent?  Usually, a Realtor® is paid by the seller or the landlord once a property is actually sold or leased.  Renting a property has enough expenses when it comes to covering move-in costs and you can protect yourself by hiring a Realtor® at no cost to you (the tenant) to make sure that the paperwork is property dialed in, the terms make sense and to negotiate an opportunity that makes sense for you.

2. Renting an apartment or a room from a friend are not your only options.  Hiring a Realtor® could help you find a property for rent with a private landlord, property manager or group of investors that could have other benefits that an apartment may not be able to offer.  Renting condos or even detached homes is a great way to get a little extra leg room, have a yard and no one “bowling” above you without having to stress about putting 20% down to buy a new home.

3. Just because you are renting does not mean you shouldn’t strive for good credit.  First, many renters have a goal of being able to purchase one day and good credit is a must for that.  However, others think that just because they are renting that good credit doesn’t matter.  WRONG!  Some places are more worried about the money you have in the bank or trying to lock you in on a three year rental agreement.  However, there are significantly more opportunities for those with good credit.  Private landlords typically own lesser units than an apartment complex (often times only one unit total) and because of that they are not able to spread out their risk between multiple properties.  Therefore, it’s very important for a landlord to see that you have good credit and responsible spending habits.  That said, good credit opens doors far beyond housing so this is just another excuse to get that credit score up and reap the benefits in general.

4. Like it or not, pets impact your ability to rent and limit the number of properties available to choose from.  This does not mean that you should get rid of your dog, cat or dragon.  Just be prepared because some landlords just don’t want pets in their property.  Look, I don’t totally agree with it because if it’s a rental then rent it to anyone that wants to pay.  However, sometimes more than 50% of your options disappear if you are a pet owner because the landlord is trying to reduce their total turn costs when you move out and potential damage to the property above and beyond your pet deposit but not worth their time to take you to court to recoup the extra dough.  There’s nothing you can do (unless you want to give your pet away) but it’s important that you are aware so you don’t get too frustrated.

5. Start looking no more than six to eight weeks out from your current lease termination.  Corrected, you can “look” whenever you want.  Remember though, if you look at a property that happens to be vacant, you fall in love and want to move in about eight weeks out … the owner has to carry a vacant property for eight weeks just to save it for you and they lose two months worth of rent.  Do some wait?  YES!  Should you expect that?  NO!  Additionally, you are likely not the only one out there looking to rent this property and if someone can move in sooner than you and everything else is equal, you are not likely to get the property.  Giving a move-in date no more than 30 days out is usually the best option but 15 or less is preferred … and tomorrow is obviously best for the landlord.

In the end, the more you are prepared the easier it will go for you.  Fill out your paperwork ahead of time, get your credit report WITH SCORES ready to go, have pay stubs ready to show income and proof of funds to cover move-in costs and rent and life will be easier.  If you don’t know what to do … or even if you do for that matter, ask a Realtor® … it’s our job.  We (I) welcome the business and leases have their complications too so let the experts handle it.

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