If you prepare, you can take steps to sway a potential landlord your way and secure a rental.
Here are six tips to help position yourself as a desirable tenant:
1. Gather Evidence
Most landlords will require potential tenants to fill out a rental application. Be proactive and show up to your first meeting with the landlord with all of your information in hand. This should include details on how to reach you, current landlord information, employment history, as well as contact information or letters from personal references.
Establishing that you have a good credit score by obtaining your credit report in advance can be helpful, too. Landlords check credit reports, references and employment histories to determine whether potential tenants will be reliable in paying rent.
Having all of these documents ready ahead of time is a way to demonstrate that you will be a responsible renter.
2. Be Punctual
Your ability to arrive at an appointment on time is an indicator of whether you will meet rental payment deadlines.
3. Dress to Impress
When it comes to selecting a tenant, landlords admit that first impressions matter. A clean, pressed outfit helps to illustrate that you are likely to keep a home neat. It might be wise to make sure that your car is equally presentable. As you pull up to a property, some landlords will see your vehicle as another indication of how well you would take care of their property.
4. Offer Incentives
A good way to show a potential landlord that you are serious about renting a place is to come to your meeting with cash or a checkbook so that you can immediately put down money for any application fee or deposit. If you have a pet, you also can suggest a higher security deposit as reassurance that your furry friend won’t wreak havoc in the home.
However, be cautious about putting down a large security deposit before signing a lease. Scammers sometimes use the guise of collecting fees and a security deposit upfront to take your money.
Offering to sign a longer lease also can be attractive to landlords who want to reduce turnover.
5. Communicate Clearly
During the interview, speak clearly and confidently to emphasize how you will be a good tenant. A landlord wants a tenant he or she can communicate with should problems arise. Yet the landlord is not seeking someone who will yammer on or constantly contact him with minor annoyances about the apartment that the tenant can resolve.
6. Maintain Your Image
Selling yourself as a stellar tenant shouldn’t end once you have secured a rental. Make sure to pay your rent on time, keep the apartment clean, and do not make excessive noise that disturbs the neighbors. Especially don’t do anything that would violate the lease terms, such as bringing home an animal when your lease says “No pets.”
By being a model tenant during the landlord interview and, hopefully, after you move in, you can have greater certainty that the landlord will value you when it comes time to sign or renew the lease, or return your full security deposit.