1. Looking for houses and looking for apartments are two completely different animals and require different approaches. In apartments there is always another one available next week. In homes, each one is unique, and once leased it’s gone. That’s why being prepared is so especially important when you need a house. That’s particularly true in higher end or well located homes.
2. Remember, you can’t open the door to view the place without a REALTOR or the owner present. Thank goodness for the MLS (multiple listing service) which should be using to find you that perfect house. Pick the areas of town that you might want to live in and then search the database for available houses in your price range. You should eliminate about 80% of homes for one reason or another just by doing this. The remainder will be you and your realtors focus.
3. Unlike apartments, homes will require substantial deposits and they don’t accept checks or cash. They will want certified funds, (money order, cashiers check) so you may need to budget. Contrary to popular belief, most homes are owned by people like you and I and not big shot investors. They are looking for people who will pay on time and not tear the place up. Can you cost savings blame them! On the one hand, they can be picky, but unlike many apartments, they are often realistic in their expectations. Each landlord will have different requirements and as a rule the nicer the place the more closely they will look at your overall credit score. REALTORS must work with each individual landlords requirements, as well as comply with the law.
4. Very few REALTORS lease, mostly because the the commissions are so low and there’s so much more work involved when compared to leasing apartments or selling homes. So when you find one that does specialize in leasing they are an enormous an en in your search for a new home Please understand, They are not tour guides. It’s very important that you be prepared. Homes lease very fast, especially nice or well located properties It gets very competitive out there .So, when we look:
1. Have all parties (lease signers) to the property at the same time to look.
2. Have your funds ready and be prepared to make a decision.
When should I start looking
Remember, apartments and homes require different strategies. You should begin by studying the different houses available to you online no sooner than 30 days before you want to move. This will give you a feel for what’s available in a given area. BUT there is no point in looking because, unlike apartments, Landlords will not hold a home for you for more than a week or so. What you look at today will be long gone in a month. It is best to seriously consider places( to physically look) to rent only about two weeks before you intend to move Unless specifically stated for pre-lease, landlords usually take the first qualified applicant with the earliest move-in date. This is why you must be prepared with your deposits and you must be ready to make a decision. The vast overwhelming majority of people prefer living in a house or duplex over an apartment. That’s what makes it so competitive.
Management companies handle most of the properties and they are typically closed on week-ends. Of course you can look on week-ends but may not be able to do anything application wise. Sometimes, that’s a good thing, it gives you some breathing room to think. If you happen to be from out of town be sure and give yourself enough time.
Always have a backup “stuff happens” agents forget to remove the listing from the MLS, it gets leased sight unseen, the owner changes his mind about moving. Like I said,it’s not like looking at apartments. Again one more reason, being prepared is so vitally important.