In some rental markets, apartment hunting can be as competitive as a job search. In fact, modern, savvy apartment seekers often visit apartments as prepared as if they’re on a job interview. If your apartment search lies in a highly-competitive rental market, like New York City, you may want to employ a few clever approaches to help secure your tenancy. Here are some tactics to help you nab your first choice apartment and seal the deal on the spot!
Remember the old saying “dress for the job you want?” It applies to your apartment search, as well.
If your first-choice apartment is in a swanky high-rise building, then ditch the Saturday sweats and dress up for an in-person visit. A variation of the same rule applies if you are hoping for a hip pad in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Skinny jeans, a flannel shirt, and nerd-chic glasses might help your future landlord visualize you living there. Within reason, do what it takes to look like you are the perfect fit for the new space!
Most folks who land great jobs do their homework, carefully studying the company they are interviewing with. Borrow this best practice to convince a property manager that you're the right person.
Come prepared with knowledge about the community. Use search engines like Apartment Guide as a resource to study the amenities and features the community offers, then let the leasing agent know how much you value those options. You can also use sites like Yelp to learn more about the neighborhood and rave about how much you love restaurant X and coffee shop Y. Community managers may well appreciate your knowledge – and compliments!
You can also borrow this job search tip: bring a cover letter to introduce yourself. This will get a property manager’s attention and help them remember you after your initial tour.
Once you’ve made a positive first impression, you might dig a little deeper to make a personal connection with the landlord. If the decision comes down to two renters with similarly positive credentials, the landlord might choose the one he feels most comfortable relating with.
Think like a networker. As in business networking, you should ask questions and then really listen. Keep your ears open for commonalities with the community manager. You might be from the same hometown, have attended the same college, or share the same favorite restaurants. Develop a rapport with the property manager by paying attention to and highlighting these details.
Best behaviors for job hunting – and apartment hunting – include a proper “thank you.” Once you’ve nailed the interview, send a note to thank a landlord or apartment community manager for their time, perhaps mentioning specific things you like about the apartment. Be sincere, and let them know it’s your first choice.
Because time is of the essence in apartment searches, email might be your best form of communication, though it never hurts to drop a handwritten note in the mail. (Even if the note arrives after you’ve signed the lease, your community manager will be glad she chose you!)
Of course, all of these strategies rely on the basis that you are prepared to be an excellent resident. Keep in mind you must also meet any legal apartment community requirements, including perhaps passing a credit check, to be the best candidate for an apartment that is in demand. You may be asked for referrals from former landlords, as well.
If you're confident, prepared and sincere, however, you’ll likely have a much better shot at nabbing your favorite apartment on the first try!
Photo credits: Shutterstock / auremar, Robert Kneschke