I recently placed for rent a nice city home and had a great response. Within 4 days, I had shown the house 15 times and received 7 applications; ending with a signed lease. There was another dozen inquiries that I turned away because of the massive interest in this property. The rental market is hot and renters are competing with each other for nice places.
This latest experience had me thinking. How do I choose someone when I have several qualified applicants? Hopefully my thoughts help you for the next time you’re looking for your next place. Or, for you landlords out there, perhaps an idea or two for when you evaluate prospective tenants.
1) THE MEETING – Just like a job interview, that first impression is everything. Be on time. I recently met with my newest client and he said to me that if I had shown up dressed like a bum and smelling like a hoagie he would have never hired me. Don’t show up dressed like a bum and smelling like a hoagie. Sure, the last place you came from may have been way less than standard for you. But this next one might be THE place! You need to engage with the person showing the property to you and be friendly; because when you leave, that landlord will have that in their head. And in this competitive market, that is what you want.
2) CREDIT – Obviously, if you have good credit, good for you. But some just don’t have ideal credit and many landlords like myself do a full background check which can include a credit and/or criminal check. If your credit is less than desirable, don’t say, “my credit is terrible!”. Instead say, “my credit is not as good as I’d like it to be. I’m working on it and completely focused on it. I hope you keep that in mind”. Offer supplemental information, such as bank statements or references from old landlords.
3) INCOME – Think about what is affordable for you, because a Landlord may look at your income and evaluate you on it. If they think that, with rent and expenses (along with your other monthly obligations), what you bring home every month is going to be a stretch, they may pass on you. Apartments are priced on location, size, quality and amenities. If you need to sacrifice one of these items to make your income fit more with what a landlord is expecting, do it. If you feel you need to prove to a landlord that you can afford the rent, again, bring items like savings account information or references. Landlords look at your overall financial situation. Their job is to make sure that you can pay the rent and pay it on time.
If you have a landlord that you think could use help with this process, pass along this article to them or suggest that they look me up, I’d be happy to help.
Finally, if I can fill a vacancy this quickly, anyone can. If you’re a landlord and you struggle with this or your property management company struggles to fill your vacancies in a timely manner, drop me a line and I can offer you assistance.
Sam Gorgone, Hometown Property Management Services, LLC