Finding the right apartment is tough—especially in a competitive market. After browsing listings online every single night, you might find the perfect one and decide to go for it. But before you even pick up the phone to call the landlord, keep these few things in mind in order to make a stellar impression (and get the apartment).
Just like anyone else you’re trying to impress, being polite goes a long way with your prospective landlord. When you initially contact them on the phone or via e-mail, be professional. Politely discuss a time and date that works for an apartment viewing and be sure that you’re not being too demanding. (They are a person with a schedule too, after all.)
When you meet your prospective landlord at the apartment to take a look around, be sure to shake their hand and thank them for their time. If you see something wrong with the apartment, don’t try to point it out loudly or in a rude way. Instead, ask if that issue is something they would be willing to fix before the tenant moves in.
Of course you want to be sure to impress your landlord, but be sure that the landlord impresses you as well. When you ask about fixing something, try to gauge their reaction to it. Do they seem defensive or unwilling to work with you? If they’re unwilling to fix something at this hypothetical stage of you living there, then you may not want to pursue the relationship any further.
Be On Time
Whenever you are meeting up with your prospective landlord for an apartment viewing or to sign some paperwork, always be sure to be punctual. Running late to an appointment doesn’t make you look responsible and may even annoy them. Everyone runs late from time to time, but if your landlord is trying to decide between a few tenants, these little transgressions can add up when they’re weighing their options.
After you schedule any appointment with your prospective landlord, be sure to write it down in your calendar and set up an alert on your phone so you won’t forget. Look up the location on Google maps and account for traffic when you plan out what time you’ll leave. Don’t let tardiness be the deciding factor between you and your dream apartment.
One of the best ways to impress your prospective landlord is to be completely upfront about yourself. Let the landlord know how many people will be living in the apartment and also whether or not you have any pets. Though the listing may indicate that pets are a no-go, many landlords are more sympathetic to pet owners who take the time to talk up their pet’s personality instead of just trying to hide the fact that they have a pet until they move in. Consider bringing a picture of your pet and showing the landlord videos of them. Go the extra mile and bring in an obedience school report card and let them know that you’re very serious about keeping their property tidy.
In addition to revealing whether or not you have any pets, just generally tell the landlord a little bit about your personality. Tell them where you work, what you like to do for fun, and give them details about how responsible you are. The more they get to know you, the better they’ll feel about offering you the apartment.
Have All Your Paperwork in Order
The best way to impress your prospective landlord is to have all of your paperwork in order. Most landlords will ask for credit history, proof of income, photo ID, and in some cases even letters of recommendation. In a really fast moving rental market (in cities like San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, and Denver), it’s crucial to put your name in the hat as quickly as possible so that you’ll have a better chance of getting the apartment. Make it easier on your landlord (and yourself) by having all of these items ready to hand over just as soon as the viewing is over. Have your papers organized and in folders that are ready to hand off to the landlord. If you hand them a bunch of loose papers, there’s a small chance that something may get lost. When it comes down between you and another tenant who are equally qualified for the place, the tenant who has all their paperwork in order first may be the victor.
Also, don’t forget to also have a checkbook handy so that you can pay for any credit check fees after you’ve filled out the application. Ask the landlord ahead of time if there are any other payments to be aware of so you can make sure funds for that are available as well.