Winter is almost gone, but apartment search season is just getting started. Between March and September, rental rates tend to increase along with the volume of applicants to rental units. That means finding a room or apartment will be even more competitive than usual.
Sound scary? Don’t worry -- we asked an experienced leasing agent for her top tips for improving your chances at landing an amazing room or apartment, even in a hot market!
Find a Roommate (duh!): If you’re living on your own, one of the easiest ways to improve your chances at finding a great place is by teaming up with roommates. This allows you to increase the energy you put into your housing search and also drastically cuts your monthly rental expenses.
Download ROOM8 to easily find compatible housemates based on what’s most important to you, like budget, hobbies, and lifestyle. By prioritizing your roommate search before your housing search, you’ll set yourself up for co-living success. ROOM8 also lets you connect directly with landlords and room listers and gives them an opportunity to check your bio and learn more about you.
Be prepared to pay your security deposit: On average, you can expect a security deposit to cover between one and one and a half month’s rent, but you may be able to negotiate with the property owner.
Ask relevant questions: Demonstrate your enthusiasm and responsibility to the property owner by asking them questions regarding things like move-in and move-out fees, potential for extending the lease duration, and which utilities (if any) are included in the cost of rent. If you have pets, also be sure to confirm that they are allowed and if there will be any fees associated with their occupancy.
Do your homework: You can skip a step in the application process by filling out an application to share with the property owner before you contact them or set up a showing. You can search for free forms online (here’s the one you’re most likely to fill out in California).
Check your credit score: Property owners typically ask for a credit report as part of the application process. save yourself some time and get a free one on websites like www.freecreditreport.com before you apply. If you don’t have a lot of credit history or your score isn’t very good, you should also be prepared to offer up a cosigner (like one of your parents).
You can also use the Mint app to obtain your free credit report -- Mint not only provides you with free credit scores, but also allows you to sync up your existing bank account and credit/debit cards to get a full overview of your spending. It’s super helpful for anyone, but especially if you’re living on your own for the first time and need a little help developing good budgeting habits.
By following these 5 tips you’ll be way ahead of the competition this apartment hunting season. Need some help finding reputable listings for beautiful rooms or apartments? We’ve got you covered in the ROOM8 app, with listings from Bungalow and several other professional property management services, as well as individuals looking to welcome their next great roommate.