Goodspeed: How to land a good apartment
QUESTION:I have filled out three different apartment applications and have lost out on all three. Do you have some advice for finding a good apartment and getting accepted?
ANSWER: I sympathize with your plight. It seems as though everything about the housing market these days - renting, as well as buying - is competitive. My advice to people trying to rent a good apartment is the same as it is for buyers trying to find their dream home: Make yourself as desirable and informed a candidate as possible.
Landlords have three main fears about tenants – they won’t pay their rent on time, they will move in a few months and they will harm the apartment. You need to allay their fears.
Start by pulling together a few documents, such as a recent copy of your credit report that you can obtain for free at annualcreditreport.com. Include three months of bank statements detailing your checking and savings activity. Get a letter of reference from your current landlord with a telephone number for verification. Verify your employment through pay stubs and W2s. Include a telephone number of your employer for verification. Write a paragraph describing why you are moving, your lifestyle. Do you smoke? Travel a lot? Have any pets?
A note on pets: Even if the landlord accepts pets (and many do not), you should include an up-to-date vaccination report from your vet. Also, make sure your pet fits the guidelines, for example, size and weight. Do not try to sneak in a Great Dane if only pets under 30 pounds are accepted.)
You need to impress the landlord with your story. If you can afford it, offer to pay 60 days rent in advance, or a larger security deposit. If there is a pet deposit, offer to pay a larger one.
Tell the landlord you would prefer to debit your rent from your bank account the same day every month. This will help allay the landlord’s fears you will not pay your rent on time, and will suggest you plan to stay awhile. We’re in a seller and landlord market. They can be choosy. Finding a good and desirable place to live takes perseverance, patience and homework.
Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.”