I’m a realtor, which means I love working with people! You can’t really succeed in this industry if you’re not on top of your people skills, in my opinion. I also know that for many who aren’t familiar with the industry don’t know where to begin or what to know when beginning the process. Here I will outline some general rules to follow and a lot of useful tips for you or anyone you know that’s in the beginning of their next home search. Feel free to share by using the links at the bottom of this post.
1.) Make Sure You’re Financially Ready
When consider buying or even renting, we of course naturally budget to be sure it’s a step we’re ready to take. For buyers, your costs are more upfront and require work with lenders and such – processes that take time and hardly require money upfront. As for renters, there are more costs than just your rent that you must be prepared for like:
- Your Application Fee: This can range, but be prepared to pay up to $75. It’s a nonrefundable fee, even if you don’t get the apartment you’re applying for. If you’re applying with a roommate, you unfortunately will have to each pay the fee. Th money is used for the background checks of each tenant to make informed decisions on to whom they rent to, not for profit (well they shouldn’t be profiting from this fee). This will go over your your credit, eviction, and criminal history; when looking at your record, your potential landlord can also verify your income and employment. It’s important to budget this fee even if it isn’t large. Applying to multiple apartments will add up!
- Security/Pet Deposit: Once you get approved, the next fee to prepare for is your security deposit which is usually equivalent to one month of rent. It’s used to make up for any damage the apartment undergoes during your time there, or if you break your lease early. It’s usually due when you sign your lease, so have funds prepared for that. You can get this fee back if you take care of your apartment and pay rent on time! If you have a pet, you’ll usually have to pay an additional fee because of the bigger chance you now have of causing damage to floors, windows, carpeting, etc. This fee is usually nonrefundable.
- Moving Fees: Even if you’re having or family helping you, who should be buying the pizza? You! If you’re hiring movers or renting a moving truck, take note that most charge per mile each way, have gas tank requirements, and small insurance fees included in the total cost.
- Renters Insurance: Required in most leases now, this protects your own belongings and liability coverage. On top of your monthly bill, you’ll also be required to pay a deductible anytime you file a claim for reimbursement. Usually it’s around $500 so if there’s a break-in and your television and laptop are stolen, you’ll only be reimbursed for the estimated value, minus $500.
2.) Keep Appointments and Be on Time!
All agents are extremely busy people, so keeping appointments is vital in building a relationship with your realtor. Know that you are not your agent’s only client, and if you are, run! If you’re running late to an appointment, let your agent know and be respectful!
3.) Set Clear Intentions
To make things easier for the both of you, let your agent know your preferred method(s) of contact. Phone calls, texts, emails – what do you prefer and during what time of the day? When it comes to showings, you can either meet up with your agent or see if they provide pick up and drop off, which many do. Looking at the big picture, it is also important to set a time frame for yourself: goals in your process, move in date, etc. Overall, if you’re ever unsatisfied when working with your realtor it is important to bring it up! Your agent wants to make you happy and provide a great experience for the two of you so communication is key!
4.) Don’t Sign Anything You Don’t Understand
Signing away on documents without giving a second glance is never a wise choice. We’re talking about your finances, credit, and livelihood here! Don’t ever feel silly asking your agent to explain and go over a form with you. Ask until you fully understand, and be sure whatever you’re signing is in your best interest. Always remember that your agent is not a lawyer, so don’t seek any legal opinions from them!