The LA rental market can be a competitive landscape. It’s not uncommon for landlords to receive multiple applications for just one vacancy. And when you finally find the perfect place to call home after all that hard work you put in searching, you want to make sure that you and your application stand out. We’ve got eight ways to help you score your perfect apartment in LA.
confirm your appointment the day before
There are a lot of flaky people in LA. A lot. As a property manager, we’re usually the one to follow up with the appointments we’ve made 24 hours in advance to make sure that we’re still on. But every once in a while, we get a prospective tenant who beats us to the punch. And we love it!
Treat an appointment to see an apartment as you would a business meeting. Would you flake on an important presentation with your biggest client? Confirming the appointment 24 hours in advance shows professionalism and that you’re really interested in the unit. It also tells your prospective new landlord that you’re the type of tenant that makes your rental payments on time too.
be on time
There’s a lot of crazy traffic in LA. A lot. So you’re going to have to plan accordingly to make it to your appointment on time and find parking. We actually recommend that you show up early and take a walk around the neighborhood for 10-15 minutes to get acquainted with your potential new surroundings. Stumble into a cafe and grab a coffee or iced tea to go and check out the scene.
If after planning to be there on time, you find yourself running a little late, text or call to let them know that you’re running behind. 5-10 minutes late is manageable, but after that it just gets rude and cuts your tour short if they have another appointment scheduled.
TIP: When you confirm your appointment with the property manager the day before, ask where there’s a good place to park. They might have on-site parking or they can give you a heads up on some good places. And be sure to read the signs when you do find parking as LA has permit parking practically everywhere.
do your research
When we meet a prospective tenant that has already read the ad we placed and visited the building’s website, we know they’re serious about renting because they’ve done their research. A building’s website can provide you with a whole host of information like their pet policy, utilities that are included, parking for tenants, what appliances the unit comes with, etc. There’s nothing more annoying than someone who shows up late and then asks basic questions that were already answered if they had just read the ad that they responded to. Reading up on this ahead of time and knowing that the building meets your needs, saves both you and the property manager time on the tour and headaches further down the line if you end up moving in.
We know someone is really interested in the apartment when they start to ask really good questions or talk about furniture placement. These are key indicators to a property manager that you like the place and are thinking of calling it home. You can ask about things like the building’s policy in regards to wall painting, visitor parking, if it’s under rent control, the maintenance team’s response time to requests, area safety, pool hours, etc. Ask about things that might be a level deeper than what they would typically list on their website and that you’re interested in knowing more about.
And definitely ask about when the apartment will be ready for move-in, the application process, if there are any applications currently in on the apartment, and when they expect to make their decision.
TIP: Keep in mind that divulging demographic information about the building is taboo in the world of Fair Housing laws, so the property manager probably won’t be able to answer questions about the people that live in the building. Instead, after the tour ends or during the weekend, take a walk throughout the complex to take a peek into who your new neighbors will be.
be ready to leave a deposit
If after meeting the property manager and seeing the apartment in person you fall even more in love with it than you did online, be ready to leave a deposit to hold the apartment. Bring your checkbook with you or cash to go grab a money order or cashier’s check. Being prepared to jump on a place may be the difference between you scoring that apartment and the property manager’s next appointment snatching it up.
When you’re apartment searching, it’s best to come armed with all of the documents that a property manager may request from you so that the application you put in for the apartment is complete and accurate. Here’s a quick rundown:
- A pen
- A copy of your most recent pay stub or offer letter if you haven’t started your new job yet
- A copy of your credit report (keep in mind, they may still run their own credit check)
- Top Tip to Give You The Edge: Written references from 1-2 past landlords
- The deposit mentioned above
be honest and upfront
If you’ve got credit problems, tell the property manager and highlight what steps you’re taking to resolve them or bring a letter from your current landlord that states your payment history (make sure it’s stellar). If you really want the unit, let them know if you’re open to paying a higher deposit too. Some landlord’s are happy to approve a tenant with minor credit issues if they’re honest about them and demonstrate a steady stream of healthy income. It’s also good to point out if you don’t have any pets, are a non-smoker, or if you’re a quiet tenant as these usually mean that you’re a resident that a landlord won’t receive complaints about once they move in.
After putting in an application, wait a couple of hours and then send a thank you email to the person who showed you the apartment. Let them know how much you appreciated their time and touch on the things you loved about the apartment and the community. Tell them that you’d make a great addition to the community and would love to have them as a landlord or property manager. These kind words can go a long way if they’re wading through multiple applications.
We hope that after reading these eight tips, you’ll be on your way to creating sweet new memories in your perfect new pad. Be sure to check out our tips for getting your security deposit back and ways to warm up your new place for fall too.
How did you score your perfect place? Let us know in the comments below.