Some students view finding a property to lease as a painful experience, but taking the right steps to prepare can make your stay painless.
One of the most important factors in securing a lease is having good credit, said Janna Seal, licensed Texas real estate agent at Keller Williams. Students without expendable income can consider getting a credit card for their budgeted expenditures, thereby building credit without accruing debt, Seal said.
“That’s why I like gas credit cards, because that’s something that you normally pay cash for,” Seal said.
Property managers often require income verification proving the applicant has an income that exceeds three times the cost of rent, which may be difficult for some, Seal said. Students may consider approaching family or friends with established credit and income to cosign on a lease if available, Seal said.
Compare and contrast the competition
Some students may be intimidated by the rigorous application process, but they should be just as vigilant in analyzing potential properties, Seal said. Comparing their ratings on property websites can lead to a more rewarding lease, Seal said.
“Just as they’re going to kind of scrutinize you and put you under the magnifying glass, look at their ratings,” Seal said. “How do they do with clients and tenants?”
Inspect the property
Before signing a lease, it is imperative to thoroughly inspect the property and its amenities, Seal said. Seal said the expectation that everything will work on the first day of the lease is often not met. Checking the plumbing, heating and appliances prior to signing the lease can save students time and trouble, Seal said.
Large property management companies often have investors and a board of directors to appease, and are much more rigid with their application process, Seal said. Students without credit or a cosigner may consider seeking landlords who own fewer properties, Seal said.
“There are small time investors that maybe own one or two properties, where they are more relationship-driven,” Seal said.