What are property managers and landlords looking for when you apply for a home to rent?  The application process can be intimidating.  Here are a few tips;

  1. When you make an appointment to see a home be sure to show up on time and if you need to cancel call in advance.
  2. Shower, brush your hair and dress like you are meeting someone you want to impress.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had potential tenants show up in sweats and pajamas.   It is important to show that you take pride in yourself.  Dressing to impress gives the impression you keep a clean house and are professional.
  3. Find out what the landlord or property managers expectations are.  i.e. will you be signing a year-lease, how much is the deposit, are any utilities paid for by the owner,  do they allow pets, how many people can live in the home.  Asking these questions will make sure that you are on the same page and neither of you are wasting any time.  It also shows that you are serious and prepared.
  4. Be sure to fill out your application completely and provide any additional information requested.  A few items commonly asked for are; application fee in the form of a cashiers check, a copy of your drivers license, current pay studs and pet references.  This shows that you can follow directions and that obtaining a new home is a priority.
  5. If you don’t have a strong rental history consider finding a co-signer in advance.  This way you can mention that to your potential landlord or property manager and provide that information at the time you turn in the application.
  6. Okay, this may sound silly, but clean your car out and wash it.   If your car is full of garbage and there is 10 layers of dust on it you give the impression that this is how you keep a home.
  7. Most landlords check credit, previous rental references, employment and any personal references.
  8. Having good credit says you honor you commitments.  Good credit today is having a credit score of 650-800.  Anything above 800 is amazing credit.  If you have less than stellar credit you still have a good chance at getting a home.  Many landlords and property managers put higher emphasis on previous rental references, employment and any personal references.  You can also provide a letter of explanation.
  9. Leaving any place you have rented in good standing is the easiest thing you can do to make finding a new place much easier.  The biggest red flag for me on an application is finding out that a tenant has paid rent late multiple times, did not properly clean the home when they left, damaged the property or broke a lease.  These things give the landlord or property manager a good feel for what you may be like in their property.
  10. The length of your employment is also a key factor.  Staying at one place of employment for longer than a year not only says that you are likely to pay rent, but that you are responsible and dependable.

Go now and rent and be happy….


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