Smart Strategies for Leasing Homes, Condos, Duplexes and Town Homes in a Tight Housing Market
1. Looking for houses and looking for apartments are two completely different animals and require different approaches. In apartments there is always another one available next week. In homes, each one is unique, and once leased it’s gone. That’s why being prepared is so especially important when you need a house. That’s particularly true in higher end or well located homes.
2. Remember, you can’t open the door to view the place without a REALTOR or the owner present. Thank goodness for the MLS (multiple listing service) which should be using to find you that perfect house. Pick the areas of town that you might want to live in and then search the database for available houses in your price range. You should eliminate about 80% of homes for one reason or another just by doing this. The remainder will be you and your realtors focus.
3. Unlike apartments, homes will require substantial deposits and they don’t accept checks or cash. They will want certified funds, (money order, cashiers check) so you may need to budget. Contrary to popular belief, most homes are owned by people like you and I and not big shot investors. They are looking for people who will pay on time and not tear the place up. Can you blame them! On the one hand, they can be picky, but unlike many apartments, they are often realistic in their expectations. Each landlord will have different requirements and as a rule the nicer the place the more closely they will look at your overall credit score. REALTORS must work with each individual landlords requirements, as well as comply with the law.
4. Very few REALTORS lease, mostly because the the commissions are so low and there’s so much more work involved when compared to leasing apartments or selling homes. So when you find one that does specialize in leasing they are an enormous an en in your search for a new home Please understand, They are not tour guides. It’s very important that you be prepared. Homes lease very fast, especially nice or well located properties It gets very competitive out there .So, when we look:
1. Have all parties (lease signers) to the property at the same time to look.
2. Have your funds ready and be prepared to make a decision.
When should I start looking
Remember, apartments and homes require different strategies. You should begin by studying the different houses available to you online no sooner than 30 days before you want to move. This will give you a feel for what’s available in a given area. BUT there is no point in looking because, unlike apartments, Landlords will not hold a home for you for more than a week or so. What you look at today will be long gone in a month. It is best to seriously consider places( to physically look) to rent only about two weeks before you intend to move Unless specifically stated for pre-lease, landlords usually take the first qualified applicant with the earliest move-in date. This is why you must be prepared with your deposits and you must be ready to make a decision. The vast overwhelming majority of people prefer living in a house or duplex over an apartment. That’s what makes it so competitive.
Management companies handle most of the properties and they are typically closed on week-ends. Of course you can look on week-ends but may not be able to do anything application wise. Sometimes, that’s a good thing, it gives you some breathing room to think. If you happen to be from out of town be sure and give yourself enough time.
Always have a backup “stuff happens” agents forget to remove the listing from the MLS, it gets leased sight unseen, the owner changes his mind about moving. Like I said,it’s not like looking at apartments. Again one more reason, being prepared is so vitally important.
What about my pets
Many people move into a home so there dog will have a yard. However ,many landlords don’t accept pets in their house. The MLS will usually spell out pet policies and the deposits normally run $300 to $500 . Sometimes they let you split it up. Typically they like smaller animals under 25lbs or so, but this can vary quite a bit. and because it’s so individualized, It may depend on your credit and of course a credible case by your agent. If you have a pet, it is pointless to look at homes that wont accept them. You do not want to tie up a grand or so of your cash and lose a week only to be denied because you failed to mention your dog.
Why you should use a REALTOR to find your next home.
1. While, It’s true, driving around looking at homes for lease or sale may be a national pastime, please understand, many of them are occupied. If the garage is closed and the drapes drawn, you may not be able to tell. Peering in someone’s bedroom window is usually a very bad idea and if they have a big dog… well…. I know I wouldn’t want to be on that bus.
2. You can’t open the door and if you call off the sign then your on yet,.. another agents schedule,( ” I’ll be right over, let me just pick up the kids at school and drop this movie off at Blockbuster”) It is infinitely easier and obviously smarter to have one dedicated person there and able to open each and every door today for you.
3. The MLS has virtually every property for lease in your city. By looking and doing your homework online beforehand and talking with your REALTOR you can eliminate 80% of properties that don’t work for you. That will save you hours of mindlessly driving around. and especially eliminate the problem of missing the street where the perfect house for you is located .
The system a realtor uses to find you the perfect home is sound, efficient, and will save you a lot of time, money and frustration. Plus it’s fun and interesting! However, it requires a whole lot of work on the realtors part. Please be considerate of your REALTOR. They work on commission only.