The rental market has been heating up since the housing meltdown in 2008 and homeowners who walked away from their, gave up their home, got cash for keys or however they have chosen to change their address, the process for renting a home or apartment is much different than it was five years ago. Paperwork is King or Queen. lol.
While agents work with renters on a daily basis to service their rental needs, it can be a very frustrating ordeal for both sides. Why? Because not all agents or (dare I say) renters are the same. Here are some tips to making the rental process a smooth one:
1. Renters choose one (1) agent ONLY to work with. There is only one Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that has the same properties and if you jump from agent to agent they are showing you the same properties in the same MLS. If that agent has proven themselves unworthy of your patronage then write, text or call them and let them know. If you just jump to another agent without telling them, that will create confusion and frustration because you didn’t let the agent know so that agent thinks they are still working for you. For example, one of my colleagues was working diligently with her rental client and she didn’t inform the other agent that she was working with her agent nor did she inform her agent that she signed a leasing agreement to move into her new place in 5 days. Now my colleague will be out of that commission after all of the showing of rental properties which includes driving to each property.
2. Be prepared to bring in paperwork. Be prepared to fill out paperwork. If you are renting an apartment or house in 2015, you will be filling out paperwork. Gone are the days where you just show up and pay money (unless it is a private owner) and just move in. If the property is listed with a brokerage firm then the owners want the agent to handle all of the vetting (screening) of all prospective renters. Therefore, a credit/background check will be run to determine if there are any evictions, a criminal record and yes your credit history. This information is used by the owner to determine who will get the apartment or home. The agent does not have the last word unless it is the agent who actually owns the property or the owner has given the agent the power of attorney (verbal or written) to make that decision.
3. Be prepared to go into the office FIRST. Before the agent will take you to see any available rentals know that the agent wants to know if she or he is going to be able to assist you. For example, if your credit report reveals that your score is low (400-550), or you have past evictions, the agent may not be able to assist you. Please know that it is not the agent, it is the owner who has stated their criteria for renting their home or apartment. In some instances, agents may take you to see one apartment or home before you go to the office but if they do not, don’t expect it.
4. Every office doesn’t accept the same Credit Reports. Be aware that the Realtor/Agent that you are working with has no control over the fees associated with the credit application. For example, our office charges $36 per person for anyone 18 or over. If you are a married couple with the same last name the fee is $45. However, if you find an apartment or home that you like, the other office may require that you pay their fee and may not accept the report that our office has run. The agent has no control over that. That fee is usually non-refundable even if you do not get the apartment or home.
Be aware that the Realtor/agent is working hard FOR YOU, but you have to be willing to WORK WITH them in order to make it all work.
To Your Rental Success,