Finding Your Next Rental Home & What to Expect

When beginning your search for your next rental home it’s important to know what to expect before getting started so you arent hit with any surprises throughout the process. Initially it is a good idea to find the right real estate agent who is able to provide the time, answer all of your questions, and that you feel comfortable with. Your agent is here to help you and guide you along the process. It’s important to remain transparent with him/her just has he/she should remain transparent to you as well.

Before beginning your search with your chosen real estate professional it is important to know what your credit and background looks like. This will help your real estate professional show you properties that meet your needs. Almost every rental property has different requirements. We recommend using RentSpree (cost $30 and is required to make an offer), which is a user-friendly application that claims to not damage your credit score but provides your real estate agent with all of the information you’ll need when applying for a home you’re interest in. You should also be prepared to pay the rent amount x3 (example: if the home costs $1000 per month you should be prepared with at least $3000) a pet deposit if applicable, and be prepared with application fee’s.

You’ve looked at some apartments online, visited your favorite property and finally found the dream apartment. What now?

Fill out a rental application & Contract to Lease (offer to lease)

Typically if you’ve already completed the RentSpree process, you’ve also already completed the application portion of this step, unless the property owner requires his own type of application which sometimes can cost a fee. Your real estate professional will let you know of any fee’s prior to you moving forward.

The Offer To Lease
Almost like an offer to purchase, this is an initial contract stating what you are offering to the owner to lease their property. This document will include the term of the lease, money do when the offer is accepted (the deposit), and money due at move-in if you are accepted. This document will also include any pets that you may have and the fee for having that pet if it is not a service animal. At this time your real estate agent may ask you for your drivers license, (to show that you are who you say you are) and proof of income (such as pay stubs).You’ve Been Accepted
That’s great news! Sometimes this may take some time, depending on how many offers the landlord has received, if theres an association, etc. Your real estate professional will be with you every step of the way between the time you apply and approved or rejected. It is always a good idea to keep a second option in the event that you are rejected. At this time it is common for your agent to ask that you provide the security deposit in the form of money order (cash and personal checks are not accepted). At this you can expect the formal lease between you and the landlord. This document will include everything you are responsible for, monthly costs due the landlord, and what is expected of both you and the landlord.
Sign the lease
Now that you’ve reviewed the lease, all of your questions have been answered, and you understand everything, it’s time to sign. You will also know the exact move-in day (start of your lease). As per your initial offer to lease (described above) the remaining funds are now due on move-in day in the form of money orders (or sometimes called cashiers checks/certified funds). Your real estate agent will instruct you on the amounts of each cashiers check. It is important that you pay attention to your agents instructions or there could be delays in your move in day.

Move in Day
The time has finally came and its time to begin your lease and move into your new home for the duration of your lease or longer. Meet with your agent either at their office or at your new home to exchange your move-in funds (in the form of certified funds) for the keys to your new home. You will also be conducting a “walk through” of your new home to notate anything that may be “wrong” with your home such as a broken cabinet door or crack in the floor. Its important to have move in photos and notes for your records so come move-out time you will not be blamed for any damages to the property and have a greater chance of having 100% of your security deposit returned. You may also ask the landlord or the landlords agent any questions you may have at this time. You will also be instructed on who to contact in the event of an emergency or if something needs repairs during your lease.

Enjoy your home!

John Annunziata
Realtor Associate

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