With so many places to consider, finding the right place can take time and will require a lot of work and patience on your part. With a plan in hand you can find a new place, making your move based on the following strategies.
1. Start your search promptly. The moment you know that you want or need to make a move, begin your search. This becomes all the more important if your lease is set to expire and you want to avoid renewal or paying rent month to month.
2. Work with a broker. In some cities, working with a broker is the only way you’ll find an apartment that meets your requirements. Although the Internet has made it easier for landlords and tenants to connect, some landlords prefer to list only with a broker to ensure that only qualified candidates are sent their way. You can expect to pay a fee, equaling one or two months rent, a steep price indeed, but perhaps the only way you’ll get an apartment in a select area.
3. Know your essentials. Every tenant has his or her list of “must haves” in an apartment and you do too. You’ll need to make these haves known to your agent or landlord to ensure that you’re only directed to apartments that meet your requirements. If you need off-street parking, will be you happy with a parking spot or is a garage necessary? Do you need an eat-in kitchen or is a galley kitchen fine? Do you want a patio and, if so, must it be screened in? Write down your priorities and stick with your list.
4. Check your credit. Your salary may be more than enough to cover the rent and related expenses, but there could be a ding on your credit report that might cause a landlord to turn you down. Pull your credit reports before you begin your search and obtain your credit score. If there is a problem, you’ll want to settle that first or at least tell the landlord of a potential issue before she runs her own credit check. Your landlord may conditionally approve your application, provided you put down a larger deposit.
5. Know what you’re getting into. The most ideal apartment can turn into a disaster if the landlord is impossible to work with. If possible, check with other tenants or neighbors to gauge landlord response in critical moments such as when a water heater breaks, the heat goes out or if rodents are a problem. Hang around the apartment at different times of the day to determine if noisy neighbors, restaurant odors or other problems arise.
6. Be ready to jump. Renting an apartment is typically a quick decision, which means that you’ll make an offer and the landlord will get back to you within a day or two at the most with her decision. Be ready to supply your first month’s rent, a deposit and related paperwork immediately. If you don’t move quickly, another tenant could jump in and claim the apartment first.
The sooner you have to move, the more likely you’ll be pressed to short-cut these steps to find an apartment. If time is on your side, then wait until the off-season to make your move such as in the winter when people are less likely to make a move.
- Marcia Stewart, Ralph Warner, Janet Portman Attorney
- Publisher: NOLO
- Edition no. 0 (08/30/2017)
- Easy-to-use and includes necessary form, instructions, and information; Up-to-date, customizable agreement that lays out rental terms and conditions
- Use form to specify the rights and obligations of both landlord and tenant when renting residential property on an annual basis
- Easy to understand - no "legalese"
- Easy-to-use and includes necessary forms, instructions, and information
- Specify the rights and obligations of both landlord and tenant when renting residential property on a month by month basis
- Easy to understand - no "legalese"
Last update on 2020-03-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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