It’s exciting to begin the search for your first rental property, but here are some pointers to keep you on track and know what questions to ask.
It’s a special milestone when you embark on finding your first rental home, whether small or large, apartment or house. But before you get started, take time to sit down and consider these helpful tips to help your search go much smoother.
Define What You Want
Some of the most obvious priorities might be location to work, desired school districts, safe neighborhood, walking distance to nearby shopping or entertainment. You have determined what you can comfortably spend, so that will help define your options.
Start Early and Search Often
Getting out early to begin your search is especially true for the rental market. If you’re considering renting a house, be on the lookout for rental opportunities. Depending on the rental market in the area you want, homes can rent in a matter of hours.
Consider a Professional to Assist
If might consider having a broker in the area assist you, especially if you’re pressed for time. This option usually involves fees, but it could make the process easier and less stressful.
Property managers such as Cousin James Management keep a pulse on neighborhoods and great rental opportunities. Be specific about what you’re looking for, and ask them to send you links to photos and details on potential rentals.
Organize Your Personal Details
If you’ve found the perfect home or apartment and have opened communication with the advertiser, then the next step will be to submit a rental application.
Most rental applications ask for information on your previous residence, addresses, dates of occupancy, names of landlords, and employment information. Creating, and then saving, a list of this information will serve you well when trying to provide it in a timely manner.
Having your information on hand will communicate how serious you are about the rental property and might even give you the edge over other potential tenants. Just be sure to protect yourself by blacking out any personal information such as a social security number.
Know Your Credit Score
While your credit should be good for more reasons than one, you may want to request a free credit report before you submit a rental application.
You aren’t likely to improve your overall credit score on a moment’s notice, but viewing a credit report will allow you to see if there are any erroneous or outdated marks on your credit report. You might be able to resolve any issues or, at the very least, address the matter with your landlord.
Be Sincere and Transparent
Be forthcoming about any negative marks on your credit, bad references, or experiences with previous landlords. Your honesty will establish trust and help establish a better landlord/tenant relationship over time. It’s worse for you if your landlord discovers these shortcomings on their own and doesn’t give you the opportunity to explain.
Nobody likes to be caught off guard, especially after the lease is signed. So being honest from the beginning will ultimately help you in the end.
Have Detailed References
References from previous landlords are going to carry the most weight. If you don’t have an extensive rental background, then provide references from employers, neighbors, friends, and even family. These will help the landlord gain vital information on the type of tenant you are.
Give some thought ahead of time to who you would like to have as a reference and ask their permission before providing their contact information to the potential landlord.
In fact, the good landlords will probably appreciate the fact that you asked. While the assumption is that the landlord has all of the control, this is hardly the truth. Landlords rely on their tenants to provide them with a monthly income and take care of the property, so the relationship should strike balance and mutual respect.
Follow Your Better Instincts
Take a deep breath and a step back, and make sure that there are no alarms going off inside your head before you sign your name to that lease agreement. Get all your questions answered to your satisfaction.
Working with a property management company such as Cousin James Management can simplify your property search in many ways. We manage properties for many rental owners and can steer you in the right direction. Contact Cousin James today!