Being prepared when renting an apartment is key. But, the preparation starts long before you sign the lease. This process starts right at the first time you tour an apartment. This is why it is so important to be prepared before booking that tour.
One common misconception about renting an apartment is that all it takes is a security deposit and a signature.
However, this is rarely the case. You have to consider that the landlord or management company is taking a risk on you. Landlords are looking for low-risk tenants with excellent records. Even the smallest details can keep you from getting the apartment of your dreams.
So, what do you need to prepare for in order to get approved?
Here is everything you need to know about putting yourself in the best position to get approved for an apartment.
1) Get Your Finances Straight
The first thing any landlord is going to look out when filling out an apartment application is your finances. This is because, at the end of the day, they want to make sure they will get paid. The number one reason for evictions is a lapse in rent.
This can lead to months in court and never ends well for either party. This is why landlords don’t want to take a chance when it comes to money. But, how can you appear financially appealing to a landlord Here are some steps you need to take:
The first thing you will need is at least 6 months worth of paystubs. This shows your potential landlord that you are capable of holding a steady job. Without a steady paycheck, landlords won’t have that peace of mind knowing that you can pay each month. It is a good idea to file away receipts of work pay for as long as you can before starting your apartment hunting journey.
Everyone applying for an apartment will have their paystubs. So, how can you take it one step further to stand out from the crowd? Ask your boss or manager for a work reference. Unlike a paystub, a work reference shows that you don’t have plans anytime soon to leave your job. This also shows an extra level of responsibility. Responsibility is a huge trait that landlords are looking for in a tenant.
The last thing you will want a copy of for your application file is your bank records. While this may seem like an invasion of privacy, it does much more than show a landlord you have money. It shows that you are responsible with money. While paystubs show what is coming in, they don’t show what goes out. That is when your bank records come in handy.
Be Prepared To Pay
Applying for an apartment can be competitive. The one thing that is going to set you apartment from the rest is your preparation. So, when looking at an apartment, bring your checkbook. Most rentals require first and last months rent along with a refundable security deposit.
This deposit is usually the price of rent. So if the rent at the apartment is $700, you should be prepared to write a check for triple that amount on the spot. When it comes to being a desirable renter to a landlord, money talks!
2) Prove You Are An Ideal Renter
What is the best way to show a landlord that you are the right fit for an apartment? Prove it! Landlords want to know that you have an excellent reputation as a tenant. The best way to do this is to back it up with proof. When it comes to being a responsible renter – seeing is believing!
Here are the best ways to show just how awesome of a renter you can be:
One thing that more and more landlords are doing these days are asking for references from previous landlords. This is because it is hard to validate whether or not you won’t leave the place in ruins without seeing your pattern. While most landlords only look for one reference, it doesn’t hurt to be over-prepared.
If you have stayed in several apartments over the course of your life, try to reach out to as many previous landlords as possible. Have them write you an honest and positive reference detailing your stay as a tenant. Landlords have a special understanding with each other. This is the best way to show that you have an impeccable history as an ideal renter.
Have you never rented an apartment before or don’t have the best relationship with your previous landlord? Have no fear! While it is preferred to have landlord references, you may be able to get by with a few personal references.
Even if you have a couple of glowing landlord recommendations under your belt, this extra step doesn’t hurt.
Try to avoid references from family members as those can be seen as biased. Try to find references from friends or former roommates, even other renters in a previous building you occupied. These references should show that you paid your rent on time and are a responsible person overall.
Back It Up!
When proving your case as a responsible renter, seeing is believing. Besides your finances, landlords are looking for assurances that you don’t trash your apartments. While landlord references should detail how clean you are, it doesn’t hurt to back it up with pictures. This takes a little bit of extra preparation but is an important thing to keep in mind.
Take photos or apartments from before you move as well as how you leave them. You, of course, want to make sure that you first take care of any damages you have made. Even small problems like filling picture hooks or buffing out floor scratches can make all the difference.
This shows that you not only take care of your apartment, but you also are willing to fix problems you might have made.
3) Make A Good First Impression
All of the references in the world won’t help if the landlord doesn’t get a good feel for who you are. When it comes to renting an apartment, first impressions are everything.
The first time you meet your potential landlord will set the tone for the rest of your relationship.
Here are some of the best ways to be on top of your game at the first meeting:
Dress To Impress
People say that you should dress for the job you want instead of the one you have. This same logic can be perfectly applied to finding an apartment. This doesn’t mean that you need to wear your best dress or suit to an apartment interview. It just means that you should put some care into how you look.
Showing up to an initial apartment interview clean and put together is a great way to impress the landlord. Landlords can get a good sense of who you may be as a renter by how you present yourself. So stand out from the pack by making this impression the best you can.
There are so many records and papers that you should bring to your potential landlord. However, all of the glowing recommendations you bring won’t mean much if you don’t appear organized. This is why taking the extra step to organized your paperwork can make all the difference.
Try to get all of your records and paperwork in shape before meeting with the landlord. Using a file or a folder to keep everything in order is key. This shows that landlord that you are serious about renting as well as prepared to answer questions. This is just a little step that can help you make a great impression in their mind.
Make A Case For Yourself
The last thing you will want to do to make a great first impression is to be prepared to sell yourself. This means that you should be ready to make a case for yourself as an ideal renter.
Be prepared to answer questions brought to you. These questions will cover everything from finances to how long you are looking to rent.
The most important thing to remember is, to be honest, and truthful. You don’t have to tell the landlord everything about yourself. But, what you do choose to tell should always be the truth. No one is perfect. The landlord doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but they want you to be honest.
4) Protect Yourself
Renting an apartment is a two-way street. While you need to impress your potential landlord, you shouldn’t sell yourself short. There are plenty of landlords out there that won’t work as hard to please you as you will. So, how do you keep yourself safe when looking for an apartment? Here are some simple ways to protect yourself!
Do Your Research
Just like your potential landlord may ask for references, you too are in the right to ask for theirs. Renting an apartment is a huge decision and you wouldn’t want to find yourself locked into a contract with a “slumlord”. Make sure that this landlord has a reputation for being available and taking care of problems.
This way you can feel safe renting an apartment with them. Just remember, you as a renter have rights. If your landlord isn’t truthful about who they are, you can always take legal action to get yourself out!
Ask The Right Questions
You want to make sure that the apartment you are renting is exactly what you need and want. The best way to do this is to ask questions. Make a list of important questions ahead of time and write them down. It is easy to forget things when you are under pressure. This will not only make you more prepared but can also keep you from signing a contract that isn’t right for you.
Bring A Friend
These days you can never be too careful when it comes to your safety. One major way to keep yourself protected when looking for an apartment is to bring a friend. There is some serious safety in numbers. Also, your friend can also help you remember important questions to ask. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes and opinions.
If you have found the most perfect apartment for yourself, chances are someone else thinks it’s perfect too. So, how do you stand out from the rest to be the most desirable candidate? Following these easy steps is the best way to go! The more prepared you are, the more serious about the apartment you will appear.
At the end of the day, landlords are looking for the best candidate who can not only pay but can care for the apartment. That is exactly what these steps will help you achieve. So, get out there and apply for your dream apartment because now, you are prepared.
Here are our VERY best tips on how to get the BEST deal on an apartment.
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Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.