5 Rental Search Hacks That Will Help You Secure Your Dream Home

by Ben SanfordMarch 21, 2018

How to Find the Right Rental Home in a Competitive Market

Millennials make up a large part of the current housing market, and although they have dipped their feet in the waters of homeownership, our recent survey suggests that among renters aged between 18 and 34, few are buying homes while the others are choosing to remain renters.

Renters can get accustomed to the meager responsibilities of renting, compared to the expensive and sometimes overwhelming responsibilities of owning a home. They tend to like their lives simple and as hassle-free as possible. If something goes wrong, they just call their landlord or property management firm to have it fixed. All they are responsible for is paying their rent on time, and keeping the rental in good condition.

The biggest hurdle with renting, however, is finding one that suits your lifestyle. Not all rentals have excellent landlords, and in the case of a home rental, many landlords may require you to do the upkeep and minor maintenance yourself. As a result, doing your research into a rental home is key to finding your dream home. Here are five tips to help you land the right rental.
rental hacks

#1: Keep Your Documents Organized

Unlike buying a home, the rental approval process moves at a fast pace because when a rental is unoccupied, the landlord is losing money. Therefore, it is important to have all your documents organized and ready before you start looking.

If you are going to be renting the home with others, then make sure they have all their documents ready as well. Must-have documents include your ID, pay stubs, references, and any other documents the application requests.
rental hacks

#2: How to Get Good References

If you currently rent, you can politely ask your landlord for a reference. Or, ask if they prefer you to write it up and then have them look over it and sign it. Let them know that they can make any revisions they see fit.

If this is your first time renting, then you may have to think outside the box for your references. For example, you can ask your employer for one. You can also ask a member of your family to be a guarantor on the rental to help strengthen your application. Just keep in mind that your guarantor is responsible for the rent if you fail to pay.

#3: Inspect the Property Before Signing the Rental Agreement

A rental might look perfect during your brief walk-through with the landlord or agent, but it often takes a more thorough inspection to see exactly what you’ll be renting. Therefore, you should ask to have a more thorough look at the place before you sign the rental agreement.

Another important thing to remember is that while you’re taking a closer look at the rental, the landlord will no doubt be taking a closer look at you. Making a good impression can help you secure the rental, so be sure to dress appropriately, arrive on-time, and act accordingly.

#4: Strengthen Your Offer

Bidding wars aren’t just for home buyers. With the upswing in popularity for renting, it may not be surprising to find yourself in a battle to win a rental. So, you may have to make your offer as attractive as you can.

From offering to pay rent in advance to paying a little over the asking price to agreeing to a longer lease, there are several ways to outbid the competition so you can improve your chances at getting the rental.
rental hacks

#5: Follow Up on Your Rental Application

Even though the whole world seems to communicate via text these days, this is one area where a phone call works best. If you haven’t heard from the landlord or rental agency within 48 hours after submitting your application, give them a call to confirm the application was received and to ask whether they need any other information from you. This will let the landlord know that you are keenly interested in the rental without making yourself sound too desperate.

If you’re having a hard time coming out on the winning end of your rental search, try the above tactics and you’re sure to improve your odds of getting into the home of your dreams.

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.