Our housing search began with a number of poorly laid-out, cheaply finished apartments. Each place was more disheartening than the next, from a bathroom so small you had to hold your breath to close the door, to trim so thick with paint that it prevented doors and windows from fully closing. When our luck finally changed and we locked eyes with 'the one,' we were ready to do everything in our power to make it home.We were blown away by the last apartment we viewed - great natural light, high ceilings, and a view! The only thing that stood between us and the apartment were thirty other people at the open house, competing for the same thing.
Despite the odds (and to our excitement), we were successful in acquiring our San Francisco rental. With the process still fresh in my mind, I've compiled a few tips for attending open houses, that helped us along the way.
Go early. If you think you like a place based on photos, try to contact the landlord or building manager to see it before the open house. Open houses are a difficult forum for making a connection. Even if the landlord is unavailable to meet before, at least you've established a connection and expressed interest.
Linger. Not in a creepy way, just spend as much time as possible at the open house or viewing. Chat with the landlord and be sure to express what you like about the space. This is your chance to make a good first impression, as well as an opportunity to make sure the situation is right for you. Think of it like a mini job interview. You want to make sure it's a good fit for both parties.
Have your information ready to go. Come with your credit report, references and all the information you may need to fill out an application. The renters' market is competitive. It will pay off to be prepared and act quickly.
Follow up with the owner. More than likely, the landlord has mentally selected a tenant, or two, by the end of the open house, pending the credit report results. If you're in the running, a quick e-mail to say thanks for your time and we love the place will only help.
As renting procedures vary per city, we'd love to hear tips from you. What obstacles have you encountered and what advice do you have for others in landing an apartment rental? What have you done to get an edge up against the competition?
(Image: Kathryn Wiens | Kirstyn's Peaceful Pacific Heights Hideaway )