House hunting update: I’m thrilled! I can’t believe it only took one day of viewings (though all told we looked at 7 different units) to find our new apartment. My mind is bursting with new ideas and inspiration, which I will fill you in on soon! Plenty of good posts to come, but clearly, I’ll be in moving mode for the next few weeks. I’ll still be blogging, but no big DIY projects on the horizon until we’re settling in.
I wanted to share with you some tips I’ve learned along over the last few years of renting, this time when it’s time to actually see the space.
1. Dress like it’s an interview, because it is one. I don’t mean show up in a suit, but more along the lines of what you would wear to meet a significant other’s mother. I’ve been to a lot of showings (especially because I’m a house geek and enjoy going, be it for me, for my friends, the open house down the street… anyway) and I’m always shocked by the number of people who either don’t realize this, or simply don’t care. You usually have about fifteen minutes tops to impress the landlord, so first impressions count. Look like a slob? Guess how they’ll assume you’ll treat their space. Styled to be dark and edgy? Wonder if they’ll feel they can trust you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be yourself, just show your best side. Dress to show that you’re mature, responsible and approachable, not that you’re hoping to start a grow-op in their suite.
And, following that point…
2. Impress the landlord. Show up on time or early (I’m always early for interviews and showings, but as my friends can attest to, pretty much ends there), be prepared with application information (reference numbers, past addresses etc.), pens for forms, pertinent questions and so on. It’s especially crucial, at open houses, to make a connection. Try your best to chat with the landlord so that they’ll remember you when looking through your file later on. Again, I’ve seen people browse around quietly, who look interested in the place, but don’t try to get a word in. I know it feels pushy, but it allows them to get to know you, at least the bare minimum.
3. Realize the advantages to having a pet. This point is especially for your own peace of mind when going to a showing. I mentioned in my last post, tips before the viewing, bring your pet along to show what a responsible pet owner you are (and make sure you walk your dog like crazy so that they’re not too over the top!). I always thought of the disadvantages having a dog would bring as a tenant: they’re often dirty, smelly, loud, and you can’t predict what damage they might inflict on your home. That being said, their presence can prove how established you are, especially if you’re an unmarried couple. In general, a pet owner is at the settling down point in their life, and past the “let’s party and get wasted” stage. It also shows that you and your partner are committed to one another and most likely won’t break up (and break the lease) tomorrow.
4. Take photos for later reference. Be respectful and ask first of course, but having photos can help you remember a place once you leave. Obvious perhaps, but I can’t tell you how much having pictures helped me to distinguish one from the other in my memory after seeing all those apartments yesterday.
5. Rate the rental. In my last post, I mentioned how helpful we’ve found writing down a physical list of qualities we were searching for in a new home. We then used this list to create a “Rate Your Rental” page. Here we scored each element of the potential place as soon as we left, when it was fresh in our minds. Here is our version:
This one is based on our wish list, but your welcome to use it for yourself, or tweak it to whatever fits for you and your family. If you’d like a copy in Word, feel free to comment and I’d be happy to send it to you.
There you have it, the hints that have helped me find a new space to call home. What about you? Any funny showing stories? Tips you’d like to share?