Many rental properties (especially the nicer ones) can get a lot of applicants. Sometimes, it may be a bit disheartening trying to fight your way through the sea of people looking to rent the place you have your eye on. You may be wondering “how can I set myself apart?”
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking to make an impression on your potential new landlord, read on for some of the most foolproof ways to stand out as an applicant for a rental property.
Offer a Deposit
When the bidding for a rental property gets competitive, one of the best ways to make your application stand out is by offering a deposit upfront. Most rental properties will only ask for a deposit once you’ve been approved. However, if you really want to stand out in a cut-throat real estate situation, putting down a deposit to get the place off the market while your application is being considered can help your case quite a bit.
The amount you’ll want to put down will vary depending on the cost of the property, but somewhere between a half and a full month’s rent will most likely do the trick. Money talks! Make it say I want this place more than anybody else.
Have a High Credit Score
Your credit score is an opportunity to shine among the other applicants. If you have the time, you’ll want to do everything you can to increase your credit score prior to applying for a rental property. Some easy ways to bump your credit score up a few points include:
- Paying Off Credit Cards – If you have any credit cards with overdue bills or high revolving utilization, it’s important that you make as many payments possible before submitting any rental applications. You’d be surprised how much this can affect your credit score, and how quickly. If you pay off a large chunk of these bills, your credit score will most likely increase by the following month.
- Don’t Close Any Accounts – Closing out a credit card can actually hurt your credit score. If you have any lines of credit that you don’t use very often, wait until your application has been approved to get rid of them. You want to keep your score as high as possible while applying for a rental property.
- Keep Loans to a Minimum – If you have any unpaid loans, particularly those that are real estate related (such as a mortgage) make sure to take care of these prior to submitting your rental application. It’s important to pay off loans on time, but not too early—as this can also hurt your credit score.
Make Sure Your Record is Clean
Many landlords conduct tenant screening reports prior to approving applicants. In order to make it past this section of the application, you’ll want to make sure you have nothing to hide on your record. This includes:
- Criminal history
- Evictions or past due rental payments
- Accurate name and identification on application
- Valid employment and income information listed
In order to stand out during this part of the process, make sure all the information you’ve provided is correct. Any inaccuracies that pop up, even mistakes, will hurt your chances of approval.
A great way to ensure you stand out from other applicants is by providing a list of professional references, even if you’re not asked to.
Having references shows a sense of responsibility, and allows your potential new landlord to get a better insight into who you are as a tenant. Some options for who to list on your reference page can include:
- Previous landlords or property managers
- Current or past bosses and supervisors
- Professional colleagues
Anyone you’ve had a rental specific, or other professional relationship with is going to be a good person to put on your references list. Friends and family are not appropriate options, and may even hurt your chances of approval—so try to avoid these relationships on your list of references.
Put All Your Cards on the Table
It’s important that you do everything you can at this time to prove what a great tenant you can be. From a clean background, to a high credit score, you’ll want to make sure everything that helps your application is easily accessible, accurate, and provided in a timely manner.
Don’t wait for the property manager to request more information—ensure you have the best chances of approval by providing everything you have as soon as possible. Be open, honest, and upfront, and your chances of getting that rental property will be sure to skyrocket.