By Tim Stroh
For most people, where you live is one of the most important choices you make. With that said, it's important to be properly prepared for your search, before you start to view options, so that you're best positioned to get the apartment that you want. It is best to go into the apartment-finding process with the mentality that anything can come up at any moment. Here are a few important steps to make sure you are as best prepared as possible:
- Documentation ready to go. Once you find the place of your dreams, you don't want to be scrambling to get your paperwork in order as part of your application. Common documents that you will need to submit include a driver’s license or photo ID, your three most recent paycheck stubs, and possibly a statement that shows your bank and savings balance. If you are starting a new job, a copy of your offer letter should be readily accessible to submit in lieu of paycheck stubs. If you are a student, be sure to have your acceptance letter, as well as any financial aid/stipend documentation ready. Having all of your documents ready to go at any moment will help expedite your application process, which may make the difference in getting your top choice apartment.
- Funds available for up-front costs. Most landlords will require an upfront payment, typically after the lease is signed, to secure the apartment. This payment is usually applied to the first month's rent, but there can also be other up-front fees, including move-in deposits or fees, pet fees and application fees. Being ready and willing to make these payments will send a good sign to your potential new landlord.
- Willingness to pull the trigger quickly. Many people lose out on a unit that they really like because they decide that they'd like to see what else is out there and compare. The stage of comparing and contrasting should come before you view apartments, by doing online research via sites like Zillow and Hotpads. The best units usually go quickly, so understanding the need to act swiftly is important if you've found something that you really like.
If you need help with your rental search, please be sure to contact us!