Submitting a rental application typically means you’re very serious about being approved for a rental property, especially when application fees, background checks, income verification and reference checks are required. The EB Real Estate Property Managers want to offer you these tips to help get your rental application approved.
1. Get organized before you start your search.
When we review rental applications, an organized and thorough application definitely gets noticed. Most landlords and property managers will require you to complete and sign an application, provide a copy of your photo ID, submit proof of income, and charge an application processing fee to run a credit and criminal background check. If you are relocating due to employment, include a signed offer letter from your new employer. If you are self-employed, provide a copy of your most recent tax return and a few months’ worth of bank statements to show consistent, current income. Know your credit report, too. While a less-than-desirable credit report isn’t always a deal breaker, having a decent score will go a long way in helping you find the perfect rental property. The more organized you are, the less work the landlord or property manager needs to do and the greater chance your application will move ahead of the pack.
2. Rent within your means.
One of the most difficult decisions to make is how much rent you can afford to pay each month. Expressing interest in properties above your pay grade can discourage a landlord or property manager from renting to you. Two methods to determine what you amount you can afford are to divide your annual salary by 40 or multiply the monthly rent by 3. If your gross monthly income isn’t at or above this number, you likely will not be approved. Remember to keep in mind all income sources, including spouse or roommate.
3. Write an introduction cover letter.
Much like an introduction letter that accompanies a job application or resume, write a few paragraphs about who you are, the reason for your move, some financial history, and a couple of personal statements regarding what interests you most about a particular rental property. Any negative credit marks should be brought to light so the landlord or property manager isn’t surprised when reviewing your credit check, and the same with criminal history before they view your criminal background. A short recommendation letter from a current landlord, including a brief rental record of paying, is always a plus as well.
4. Secure a financial Guarantor if you have poor credit.
Applicants with poor credit should be prepared to ask a friend or family member with good credit and income to act as a Guarantor or co-signer, guaranteeing that they will pay your rent if you do not. The guarantor is required to submit all of the same documentation as you, including a completed application, and to pay the application processing fee. If you do not have a guarantor, perhaps offering to pay a few months of rent in advance will aid in getting your application approved.
5. Dress to impress.
Presentation is all too often completely overlooked. When touring an apartment or rental home, make sure to dress nice…and clean. Consider an outfit that you would wear to a job interview, because first impressions mean just as much to a prospective landlord or property manager as they do to potential employers. Give yourself the best opportunity to WOW a potential landlord or property manager.
6. Have a good attitude.
This may very well be THE most important tip! Searching and applying for rental properties can be stressful. Digging out personal financial documents and looking at multiple properties can create anxiety, which sometimes manifests as a negative attitude. A pleasant attitude toward the landlord or property manager will have a direct impact on the success of your application.