So it’s time to move and are looking for an apartment? Weather this is your first time moving out, your first time living in California, or you’re just looking for a new place finding an apartment and managing to get moved in can be stressful and sometimes difficult. As a former apartment leasing consultant and property management team member, here are some tips and things to know before getting into that apartment.
First things first pick a few places. Don’t get your heart set on just one specific place when you are apartment hunting. As those of us who have had an apartment before know, sometimes the one place we want really bad doesn’t always pull thru. At your local grocery store there is a section in front that has free magazines. The apartment guide is a smaller book and the Apartment magazine, these are popular and have apartments for just about every city in California. It will give you the sizes of the apartments, price ranges and any specials if offered. Go through these and pick about 3 to 5 locations that you really like. Call to get any additional information to suit your needs such as if they have a washer and dryer in the unit, if any utilities are includes in the rent, if you can have pets, and so on. Most all apartments in California have to follow the same qualifications standards which are anyone 18+ living in the home MUST be on the lease, You will need to make at least 3 times the amount of rent (in some places this can be 2.5 or even 2 times the rent). Also the apartment manager will need to run a credit check and in some places a criminal backgroundround check. When qualifying an applicant the steps that take place are the credit check, an employment verification with most places you will of have to be on your job or previous job for at least 1 year, and rental history. This rental history is becoming more popular especially at newer apartment communities. You will have to provide a year of “good” rental history. If this is your first apartment renting from your parents may or may not count so ask first.
The credit check: Many people when looking for an apartment have the big question, What if my credit is bad? How does the credit check work? Well Most apartments have an automatic system that calculates your credit history then generates a score. This is not your actual credit score, that doesn’t matter, this is more of positives vs. negatives on your credit report then the apartment communities credit program generates its own score. This will then give the agent running your credit a green light for pass, a yellow light for pass with conditions or a red light for fail. A pass is great, a pass with conditions means that you could either need to pay an increased deposit or need a co signer or both. A fail means that the apartment will not accept you. As harsh as it sounds it isn’t that bad and there are some communities that will work around a failing score.
Meet with the manager, Once you have found a few apartments that you like call and set up an appointment to come in and take a tour and meet with the manager. Have a check or a money order ready incase you want to put a hold on any specific apartment you like. Be sure to write down any questions you may have, bring those along too. You will need you photo ID in order to view any model apartments so don’t forget this. While you are there be sure to ask about any specials they have going on, and if the location of the apartment for rent is available to see. If you can look at the specific apartment you will be in, that is always good.
Your holding deposit. If you feel like you have found what you are looking for but still have not looked at all of your places yet, first ask if they can put a temporary hold on the apartment until the end of the work day. Most leasing agents need sales and if you are truly interested they will hold without a deposit until the end of the day. This allows you time to look at the other communities on your list. That way if you find something better you didn’t leave your deposit. Almost all communities will require you to leave a deposit to hold the apartment along with your application. Expect to pay at least $135 when submitting your application to lease because the holding fee’s are usually $100 and the application fee’s are between $15 and $45 depending on the community. Never be afraid to ask if the application fee’s can be waived. On the day you submit your application you will need to have a photo I. d., social security card, check stubs or letter from employer.
So you have found the place, submitted your application and now you are waiting for a response. Apartment managers usually know within 24 hours if you will qualify to live on their property or not, but give them the chance to call you and let you know. In the meantime don’t worry about it. Once you have been approved you will need to gather up your move in costs and get your gas and electric turned on because the apartments will need these account numbers on lease signing day. The day you sign your lease and pay your money is the day you will receive the keys to your new place.
Finding the right apartment is a process, and takes some time but once you have found what you are looking for you will be more than satisfied. Remember to ask lots of questions because this is where you are going to live for the next 6, 9 or 15 months.
The general problem that is a part of human nature is that we are never satisfied with what we have and always yearn for more and no one has the patience and perseverance to wait for the right time to arrive so that the proceedings are completed and you can get your desired apartment for yourself. It is worth the wait if you are hoping to move into a Parc Central Residences showflat but if that is not in your stars, then you have no other choice than to simply bide your time as California is a huge state and LA alone comprises of apartments that are at both affordable and sky high prices.