New Renter's Checklist
Chances are, you've rented an apartment before. Poured over Craigslist ads, gotten leads from friends on fabulous places, and begged nasty landlords to take your application. And the best part is if you've hunted for an apartment in the past few years, you've seen that there is always a frenzy at open houses. Well - do you want some hints on to make this work for you and stand out from the renter crowd?
Here is a checklist of things you'll want to bring with you when viewing apartments. It'll make your search that much easier.
- A Sample Rental Application - You will most likely have to fill out the property manager's specific rental application, but it's good to have all of the information in order. The biggest things to remember are: A) Contact info for your past three years of apartment rentals. B) Three personal and professional references.
- Credit Score - Whether your credit score is perfect or non-existent, it's good to have a copy of it on hand. If it's good, you can flaunt it. If it's bad, you can discuss it face-to-face.
- Letter of Recommendation/An "About Me" letter - It can be helpful to have a letter from your previous landlord describing how awesome you are. It may sound silly, but it never hurts. A letter lets the owner/landlord know why you are the tenant of their dreams. It will do the talking for you once they are looking at all of the applications and credit reports. Think of it as a constant foot in the door.
- Pet References - Most buildings love pets. Some landlords might need convincing that your loved one is the best. A quick write up from a previous landlord and toss in a few lovable photos is a great introduction between your pet and your new landlord.
- Checkbook or Cash - Most places will rent very quickly. Often times a property manager will accept a holding fee while they process your application. This fee is generally anywhere from $50 - $500 dollars. If you decide to take the apartment, it is usually put toward your deposit/cleaning fees. Along with a holding fee, a lot of buildings will charge you for a credit/background check. I've seen these go for as much as $70. Personally, I think this is a stingy fee since most places offer monthly services for background checks that is much less than $30 per applicant, or they simply won't do the check and they'll pocket the money.
You should be set but hey I am always looking for a few new hints/tips/tricks to make Seattle a more renter friendly place. Let me know by leaving your tips and tricks in the comments section.