I clearly recall one flat search that attracted me to tears. After sifting through dozens of not-right rentals, and together with our moving-out date , we thought we finally had the ideal place at the bag — just to have it awarded to another applicant in the last minute. If you have ever needed to search for an apartment, you understand the process can be stressful; much more so if you are new to a town or are looking in a competitive marketplace where hoards of people show up to every open house.
There might not be a way from doing the legwork, but these 11 tips can help you to get organized, set your priorities, search smart and stay focused every step along the way.
Valerie McCaskill Dickman
1. Narrow your search. Focus on a favorite area or 2, but be smart about it. Balance things like charming shops and a lively community with variables like cost and access to transport. Narrowing your search to a certain area will help streamline the process, since you can easily reach multiple open houses in one morning.
If you are only moving to a new town, there isn’t any better way to learn about the neighborhoods than to spend some time walking about — so get out there and research.
2. Identify your top 3 priorities. Make the budget among your top 3 priorities; the other two may be anything important to you: excellent natural lighting, proximity to work or school, or even a washer-dryer from the unit, as an example. If you are having difficulty coming up with your top three, try listing all you need and cross off things one by one until you are left with your most important priorities.
mango design co
3. Keep track of multiple listings with a contrast checklist. When you are hitting half a dozen open houses in one morning, they start to operate together. Keep applicable info neatly piled on a single checklist and snap an image of each place to accompany it, if at all possible.
Annie McElwain Photography
4. Take your ducks in a row. Be ready to fill out application paperwork, plunk down a deposit or sign a lease before attending that open house. Bring the info that you need to fill out a typical rental application (contact info for company, present and past landlords etc.), plus your checkbook.
Also consider printing out a copy of your credit report — some landlords may insist on running their own check, but only having it to show could be reassuring and put your application ahead of others in a competitive market.
Casey Grace Design, LLC
5. Uncover hidden prices. Know everything you could potentially be carrying on, beyond the rent, by asking crucial questions if you look at a new place. A few to consider:
Are window treatments contained? Which (if any) utilities have been included?
Is there a fee to utilize building amenities or for parking?
Are there any cable hook-ups in which you want them, or will you need to get a new line put in?
6. Rely on your senses. Odd smells and sounds you notice during a revealing could end up being a significant problem when you proceed in. Natural lighting, or a lack thereof, can make all the difference in the world, so try to attend a daytime open home rather than looking at the flat after work.
7. Don’t be afraid to be a bit nosy. Open the closets to find a realistic picture of the storage space. Turn on the shower, run the water from the kitchen and bathroom sinks, and flush the toilet. Check below the sinks for signs of mold and creatures — it’s a whole lot better to understand currently when there’s an issue.
Schwartz and Architecture
8. Combine methods for the very best search. Search online through Craigslist and similar websites, or contact a local real estate agent who handles rentals — but don’t forget to hit the sidewalk, too.
Even now there are loads of landlords that rely on a simple sign posted in the window, even a scrap of paper tacked up at the neighborhood café or word of mouth to rent their units. Keep your eyes and ears open wherever you go.
Andrea Schumacher Interiors
9. Planning to stay a while? Negotiate! When you have outstanding credit and a solid rental and work history, and you desire somewhere to call home for many years to come, you might be in a position to negotiate a much better deal. Finding excellent long-term tenants is the hardest aspect of being a landlord, so remember, you are a catch!
Whenever it is not likely any landlord would lower the rent, you could try negotiating to get a longer lease to lock in your current rent, request improvements to be made (and paid for) before proceeding in or get permission to paint and make improvements on your own.
CDA Interior Design
10. Quantify key parts of furniture… and check when they fit through the door. When you have not gathered much furniture or you don’t mind swapping a few things out, this might not be an issue. But if you have a distinctive piece, like a canopy bed, large sofa or piano, it would be dreadful to find out it won’t make it through the door after you have signed the lease. Bring a tape measure with you to each open house, and assess doorway and stairwell dimensions to be sure your cherished pieces will make it in.
11. Get everything in writing. So that your landlord guaranteed that the leaky faucet would be repaired, you can paint the walls any color you need and your kitty is allowed with no deposit? Get it in writing. If you and your landlord ever get into a disagreement down the road, having documentation is going to be a lifesaver.
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