Now that you have seen the home with your desired traits, its time to APPLY. It is easy to boil the process down to filling out the paper work and giving a copy of you photo ID, but please remember there is much more then just that basic step.
Most people expect to have a quick answer when applying. It is smart to keep in mind that most applications can take 3-4 BUSINESS days. Having all your required materials at arm’s length is a good way to prepare for applying ANYWHERE. Below is a checklist to help prepare you:
- Copy of photo ID (Government issued) for all person applying over the age of 18.
- Names of management companies, apartments and addresses that you have lived at for the last 5 years.
- Make sure if you are currently renting that you have put in your required notice to vacate with your landlord. If you have not then this can delay the approval of your application. Most companies do not want to risk you skipping out on a lease since you might be inclined to do that same thing to them. WE DO CALL FOR VERIFICATION!!! If your rental history can’t be verified, you could be subjected to denial or extra fees/deposits.
- It is smart to give your current landlord a heads up about some one calling to verify rental history. If not calls get ignored and some landlords might not realize how time sensitive this is. While your application is waiting for a call back you could lose the home you want to some one whose landlord gave a quick response. Having your landlords updated email and phone number is best.
- Remember most companies accept multiple applications on a home. It is not the age old first come first serve. Now it is first to be approvable gets brought to the owner for evaluation. It can be a great idea to have a back up home in mind (with the same company). That way if your application isn’t approved in time for the 1st home you want normally you have a great shot at your second choice.
- If you have ever been evicted, sent to collections or have a criminal record you might as well disclose that before applying. Most companies have VERY strict guidelines they must follow concerning these items. Due to Fair Housing Act making exception for one person and not everyone is out of the question, so companies really don’t have any wiggle room when it comes to these top qualifying items. The truth will come out during the application process and that only leaves you spending money on application fees and your application is denied.
- Knowing your credit score can also save you some pain when it comes to figuring out if you may be approved. Most bank or credit card companies have tools that give you a ball park figure of your credit score. Many companies have a base line that must be met for an application to be approved. If there are multiple people over the age of 18 applying, then ask how the credit score will be calculated. Sometimes it is an average score of multiple people. This means your credit might be amazing where as your roommates credit score my drag your opportunity down to be approved.
- Check and see if the company has an online application. Most do, and this provides a quick way to get your application in fast and pay your application fees. Make sure to always follow the company’s directions for applying and send a follow up email after applying. The email can simply state you wanted to confirm your application (sent at this date/time) was received. Leave your best contact information that way if there is an issue the agent can reach out to you for any extra documents.
- Before you have applied make sure to check all fees for signing a lease with that company. Some might have an administrative fee, deposit, first or last month’s rent required to sign lease paper work. Ask how these payments can be paid (most first-time payments are done in certified funs such a cashier check or money order). While you wait for the verification process to be completed you can either have this money pulled out of your bank account a head of time. I have seen this issue happen tons of time where the application is approved, and the applicant has 24 hours to get the money to the office but their bank card won’t let them withdraw that much money in one day. Having these funds set to the side already can save you a big headache and rushing around. I would NOT get the cashier check or money order until you are OFFICIALLY approved. Most cities have 24-hour places like AMSCOT that can provide money orders when provided the cash.
- Be prepared to send funds by overnight mail, if you are not living close by to drop the funds off to the management company. Yes, it can be expensive, but this burden is on the applicant. The management company is not required to wait for you to get your money in to them.
- Once the application is approved and required funds are turned in, then the lease signing begins. In our next segment I will touch on items to pay attention to in your lease verbiage. The main point I leave with you now is to READ YOUR LEASE. READ IT, READ IT, READ IT. Don’t skim it and sign but read every word. DO NOT be afraid to ask questions. The agent is there to help explain and we don’t mind questions. I suggest asking for a sample copy of the lease before applying for a home, so you know what is expected of you as tenants. The lease is non-negotiable so if you do not like the terms it is best to find another company to lease with.