Know Before You Rent

3 Tips for Finding an Apartment in a Tight Rental Market

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If you haven’t heard, renting is kind of a thing right now. With the foreclosure crisis as one of the most tangible results of the Great Recession, more people have gotten out of the business of owning a home and have become renters, whether it’s by choice or necessity. What that means for many renters is there will be significant competition as they search to find that perfect apartment or house.

So what can you do to get a leg up on the competition if you’re looking for housing in a tight rental market? Here are a few tips:

* Early and often. When it comes to apartment hunting, old-fashioned hustle still pays off. Monitor Craigslist, local rental sites and classifieds, and call to make a viewing appointment as soon as one pops up that you might be interested in. Most landlords operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

* Be ready to make quick decisions. You don’t want to rush into signing a lease without enough information to make a good decision, so do as much research as possible ahead of time. Google the name of the landlord or management company to make sure they have a clean reputation. If you’re hoping to negotiate on the rent, ask if it’s flexible when you set up the showing, or come with a number in mind that you’re willing to pay. Scope out the neighborhood before you view the apartment.

* Know your rental history. The last thing you need is to be on the verge of getting an apartment and have your application denied at the last minute after your landlord finds something he doesn’t like when conducting a rental history check. Save yourself the trouble by purchasing your own rental history report and address any issues that might come up before you apply.