By: Rachel Tandet – Property Supervisor
Starting your rental search can be equally difficult and exciting- but more difficult when you do not have any idea what you are looking for. From experience, here are a few tips to help the process go smoothly.
Often, renters will wait until the last minute to start looking for their next home. If you know that you are going to be moving, I recommend starting to prepare 30 to even 60 days prior. With a bit of prep, you’ll find your compatible home in no time at all.
Know your budget
First part of your rental search should include crunching some numbers to understand and get a feel of what you are comfortable spending. Expect your income to be at least 3x the monthly rent. That will give you a base of what you can afford. Another rule to consider is the 50/30/20 rule. This suggests spending 50% on fixed needs – rent, utilities, groceries, transportation. Spend 30% on daily expenses – eating out, shopping, etc. and lastly spend 20% on long term financial – savings, retirement, etc.
At the end of the day, whether you use that rule or not, be sure you are confident on a budget range for rent before you start hunting.
Know your credit score
A lot of rental home qualifications include running credit and having good credit. I recommend going on a free credit check website or simply going to your bank and asking for your report and see where you are at. If there are any discrepancies, now is the time to fix them.
Make a Checklist of needs and wants
You are looking for a new home and you will be spending a lot of time in this new place and you should be happy there. Create a checklist with high priorities, medium, and low of what you want/need in your new home. This could be central A/C included, the first level only, pet-friendly, dishwasher included, washer/dryer onsite, gated community, the area, transportation close or not, etc. Knowing exactly what you want and can live without in your new home will help you search and be able to quickly determine if a home will work for you or not.
Where to start your rental search?
Zillow is always a great place to start, but there are tons of other websites like hot pads, Zumper, apartments.com that can provide rentals in your criteria.
Also, always look on google for the property management websites. Those will always be the most accurate with the most detailed information. Sometimes if you call or email, they may have off market listings they can share with you!
Don’t forget that social media is a big hub for this as well like Facebook Market Place. No matter which sites you choose to do your hunting on, rentals can go very fast! Set alerts on your phone, check on your lunch breaks, have friends/family help you by sending links. Do whatever it takes to make sure you won’t miss out on your perfect new home.
When touring- have questions to ask
Great, now that you are ready to visit the homes that you have researched and meet your criteria – price range, location, amenities, etc – it is now time to prepare for the tour. It is always a good idea to bring a notebook or have your notes open on your phone with the following prompts to be sure you don’t forget anything:
- Address of the property, name of property management, and rental rate
- What are the lease terms? Do they have penalties for breaking a lease?
- What are the specifics for qualifying for the home? ( Income requirements, credit, rental history, etc.)
- What utilities are included? If not, what is the average cost for utilities? Are they flat rate? Are they split between units?
- Is parking included? If not, can you purchase a spot? Is there guest parking?
- Is there storage space in the building? Does it cost extra?
- Are pets allowed? Any breed restrictions and if so what types? How much is the additional deposit or pet rent?
- Is there in the unit laundry? If not, is there laundry onsite and what is the cost and how do you pay?
- Do you require renters insurance?
- How much is the security deposit? What day is rent due and what are the penalties for late rent? How do you accept rent payment?
Lastly, if everything on your checklist has been marked off and you love the place, don’t be afraid to say so to the showing agent. Then the last question to ask is, how and where do I apply?!
For more information please call 619-286-7600 or visit www.fbs-pm.com
For a current list of available homes: https://fbs-pm.com/renter-services/rental-search/