Getting Started in Renting a home.
The first step logically in the rental process is getting out there and searching available inventory either through a local real estate agent or the local for rent adds in your area. Once you find a property that you would like to rent below are the steps involved in securing the property before someone else does.
Being Prepared ahead of time.
Before you start your search for a place to rent or lease in your local market you will need to make sure you have everything needed that a potential home owner or real estate company will ask for before you agree to make an offer on the property. Start gathering most recent pay stubs , generally last 2 pay stubs or 1 month will be sufficient for most landlords. Second my favorite is having a recent copy of your credit report for everyone over 18 who is going to be signing the offer to lease or making the offer to rent the property. Third which is not common when renting at a condo association or home owners association is a copy of your background check which you can get from your local Sheriffs office , now I would not suggest going down to your local Sheriffs Office if you are a wanted felon or criminal on the run and if this is the case you might as well not bother making the offer on the apartment in the first place since the association will deny your application either way. Forth, references are valuable as well and I would suggest getting reference letters from your employers, friends, previous landlords which would make your new landlord feel at ease when considering you as a new tenant.
Making the Initial Offer To Lease.
When using a local real estate agent to make an offer to lease a property you are doing exactly just that, making an offer on a property you like. Just because the Landlord is asking for lets say $1500.00 per month with move in money needed of First Months Rent, Last Months Rent & 1 Months Security deposit doesn’t mean they will always accept your offer. The property is available to move in today and you may not want to start the lease or move in for another 30 days which may not be in the landlords best interest because time is money and everyday the property sits empty its lost money on the landlords part. The owner or landlord may counter back at you with an earlier move in date of lets say 15 days from now to secure you as an tenant. Other factors on the initial offer will be the owner reviewing the paperwork you provided like pay stubs, credit report and or reference letters as stated in previous paragraph.
Yay, My Offer To Lease Was Accepted Now What?
So now that the owner has accepted your offer the owner or real estate agent for the owner will now prepare the actual Lease Agreement for all parties to sign and will request a security deposit from the tenant with the rest of the move in money due at the start of the lease. This is where most renters get confused on total move in monies and where most tenants have a heart attack when they did not fully understand what First, Last & Security really meant. First is equal to 1 Months Rent Amount, Last is equal to 1 Months Rent Amount & you guessed it Security is Equal to 1 Months Rent amount as well so based on the $1500.00 per month rental you just made the offer on you are now looking at a total of $4500.00 to move in. Holy crap batman I didn’t realize that is the most used answer I get from tenants even when I tell them over and over in person and on the phone this is what they should expect but I guess its like buying a car for the first or second time that you are so caught up in the moment that you are paying attention to the details until its too late. So sit back and take a deep breath and make sure you are financially prepared to come up with all that money by the move in date. If you are not you may want to tell the real estate agent and find an alternative to either back out of the deal before its too late and you lose your initial deposit or work something out with the owner that maybe you could pay the difference after you move in but this is highly unlikely in today’s market with the rental market as strong as it is.
Condo / Townhome Application Process
Moving into a Condo or Town-home Community is another process involved when renting, don’t worry about this part but please be patient when applying to the association because it can take up to 30 days in some communities while most communities take 1-3 weeks with an average of 2 weeks in South Florida. If you need to move this weekend then I would suggest you look into a single family home where there is not association involved to speed the process up.
Lease Is Signed Between Tenant & Landlord
Now that the lease is signed by all parties the tenant will need to hand over at minimum a 1 Months Security Deposit so the owner is comfortable in taking the property off of the market while they are waiting for all approvals and you the tenants to move in a few weeks. You will be expected to bring either a Money Order or Cashiers Check for the initial deposit and the same for the final move in money which we call in this business clear funds because it is unlikely that these form of funds will not clear.
The day has arrived to move in.
So you got approved with flying colors and now you are ready to give the owner the remainder of all move in monies and get the keys and start moving in this weekend. This is where all parties should decide a time and date to meet and exchange keys for money along with doing a Move In Checklist or Walk Through. The Walk Through is more important for the renter in my opinion than the owner so that the tenant can make notes of any defects inside the property like broken floor tiles, chipped cabinets or maybe stains in the carpet. Why this is so important is because if you do not point these items out now upon move in the owner/ landlord could come back and charge you with these items upon moving out next year. Do a quick check to make sure all the appliances are working ” Generally in Florida Major Maintenance or Repair on Items Like Appliances , Air Conditioning Units are landlords responsibility ” so not worries but its best to make sure the day of move in so in the case something is not working properly the owner can schedule someone quickly to come out and fix them asap.
Now hopefully this will help many of you out there who are in the market to rent a property in South Florida. While there are many variables in renting a home, condo or Town-home from local individuals this should prepare you to at least make sure you know the basics of renting a property. Every landlord is different in there own ways, some are laid back and easy to deal with while others are always on edge and some well lets just say you want to strangle them every time you talk to them , its kind of like family members so you just need to deal with it until you save up enough money to buy your own home.
Feel free to call a Local Real Estate Professional in South Florida who would be happy to assist you in your real estate search.