5 Tips You Should Know Before You Rent

Before you start shopping for a home to rent to need to understand the process. First off, it's not the same as renting an apartment. Different criteria is used and different fees are involved. But you wonder what does it take to be able to qualify for a house? Read on if this fits you, I'll do my best to help demystify the process.

With an apartment you are renting one of many units a corporation owns and they expect a higher turnover rate of tenants. When you rent a home, it's a single unit that costs more to maintain. Landlords who own single family homes are looking for a more stable tenants which means their standards are a little higher.

Property managers who handle single family homes or duplexes usually only require a 30 day notice for when you want to vacate. That means most of those notices show up at the beginning of the month when the tenant pays the rent. Others may show up in the middle of the month and those are usually either homes that are being rented out for the first time or those that have had to have some rehab done after the previous tenant.

You could call every property manager out there and ask to be put on their list when something becomes available. However, the more efficient way to handle it would be to work with a Realtor who specializes in the area where you want to live. Almost every property manager will list their inventory in the MLS, because they want the most exposure they can get for prospective renters so the time the house is vacant (and not bringing any income to the landlord).

As a Realtor, I can access that information as soon as it is input and share it with my clients - even if it is not a listing from my own office. If its a property in a high demand area, you may miss out on it if you are hoping you'll drive by it and see the sign - not all management companies put out signs.

Now about the qualifications...Individual homes will usually be a little stricter. Just because it has a yard doesn't mean they will automatically allow you to have any pets you want. Each landlord will have their own guidelines for pets and will have a required deposit for each pet - usually $300-$400 and non-refundable. If you think that you can just hide the fact that you have a pet, think twice. If it is discovered that you lied on the application or brought in a pet after moving in, without the landlord's approval, this could be grounds for an eviction. If you have an eviction on your record, it will make it extremely hard to find a new place to live.

Costs to move in...There will be a security deposit that will need to be paid upfront along with the first month's rent prior to move in. It will usually be equal to, or more of the monthly rent. It can not be spread out over several months. It is not your last month's rent. It is the "security" the landlord has against the event that a tenant damages the house. If the damage is greater than the deposit, the landlord can take the tenant to court to pay for the additional costs. You do not want to have a judgment on your record; it will make it very hard to find another house to rent because those records will also be checked as part of the required credit report.

Credit Reports...Each property manager will run a report for each person who will be living in the house over the age of 18. How well or how badly you pay your bills will affect whether or not your application will be approved. The landlord wants to make sure you will be paying the rent and on time. Even if you make lots of money but you can't seem to remember when bills need to be paid that will affect your credit. Understanding is given for an occasional late, but not a repeating history.

Need more details? Give me a call. I can be reached at 210-827-2858.