Want to avoid frustration and save $$$?
Here are some tips that you can use to make your rental hunting expedition a success. You can save yourself hundreds of dollars in application fees and needless credit hits if you do these things BEFORE you drive around in the heat. There is absolutely no reason to go look at properties you are not qualified for.
Do Your Homework
Rent History – Believe it or not, landlords and property managers want to know if you know how to pay rent on time. Crazy right? We are super busy and tenants who don’t pay on time, drive us to drinking. If you have history of paying rent on time, you are in business so be bold and be proud – PROVE IT. How? Here are 3 ways you can prove you pay rent on time:
- Landlord Reference Letter – Contact your landlord and ask for a transaction history of your rent payments and/or a letter from that person who says you are rock star. Letter head is a bonus. Property managers want to make sure you are not just making crap up.
- Bank Statements – Pull up your last 12 bank statements that show you paid your rent on or around the 1st of the month. Be sure to black out your account numbers. You only need to show what they need to see.
- Receipts – You probably got a receipt of some type when you paid rent. If you were clever, you saved all those receipts. Take a picture of them.
Income History – Landlords want to know you can afford their property. Crazy right? No one wants to see you get in over your head. If you have history making coin, you are in business so be bold and be proud – PROVE IT. How? Here are 3 ways you can prove you make money:
- W-2 OR Pay Stub(s) – Property managers are looking at how much you take home. Your gross pay needs to be no less than 3 times rent. Some ask for more so by doing this step first, you can determine if you are qualified before you get rejected.
- Self Employed? – No worries. 3 months bank statements will show you have a healthy balance and are responsible about paying your bills.
NOTE: If your income isn’t sufficient to meet the income threshold, the other person living with you needs to be related. Most landlords and property managers dislike a house full of unrelated room mates. One person goes MIA and that whole house of cards collapses. You are better of striking out on your own anyway. You need to build your own rental history – not someone else’s.
Credit History – Landlords want to know if you know how to manage your money. Crazy right? If you don’t know how to make car payments or pay your telephone bills on time, you need to evaluate your lifestyle. If you have history of playing well with others, you are in business so be bold and be proud – PROVE IT.
CreditKarma.com – It’s free and you will learn how the world perceives you. There could be a few things on there that are wrong. Fix it! That stuff doesn’t go away by ignoring it. You have bad credit because you didn’t pay a $150 bill? Seriously? Pay it.
If you are renting, it’s probably because your credit is less than stellar. Don’t stress. If you had perfect credit, you wouldn’t be renting right? Property managers are looking at different components of your credit. Generally they ignore medical and educational loan collections.
Package Yourself Up
Take all that information you worked so hard on and put all those files in a folder on your computer. Label them so any idiot can figure out what each file means before opening it. You will attach those files to your email when you solicit a landlord or property manager. Compose an email that is simple, to the point and has all the facts. Like all the facts. Get it out there because most people are going to find it anyway. Save it and/or send it to yourself so you don’t have to retype it every time. DO NOT WRITE SOME COUNTRY WESTERN SONG on why you need a place to live. You can save that for the bartender. Here is what your email should look like:
Hi Mr. Property Manager,
We are interested in your house. Here is our basic information and I have attached a bunch of files to back it up:
I make $35k a year selling socks. My husband makes $45k a year digging holes for the mob. My credit score is 624 and his is 658. We have been paying rent on time for the last 3 years at 123 Main Street. I have a speeding ticket from 2014 and my husband had a $500 judgement against him for running into a boat. Our 2 kids go to Rock and Roll High School. Our 4 year old cat is trained to poop in a litter box and pretty much sleeps all day. If those credentials meet your requirements, we would like to see the house either Tuesday at 8am or Saturday at 4pm.
Susie Lunchbucket (702) 123-4567
95% of the property managers or landlords will tell you straight up if you are qualified on that email. They are busy and they are not interested in driving around in the heat to meet someone who isn’t qualified.
Skeletons in the closet?
Poor credit, eviction history, felony, child support… Just confess up front so you can find an enlightened property manager or landlord that will give you a chance to prove you are trying to recover. Someone will take you but it may not be the house of your dreams. So what? You are not going to die of old age in that rental. Clean up your act. Get a rental that’s cheap, save money and become your own landlord. If you are trying to impress people with an expensive rental, you are making impressions on the wrong people. There are thousands of stories of people who have worse history than you do who managed to turn it around. Be one of those stories.