Eight Tips to Consider When Looking at Apartments for Rent

Finding apartments for rent can be a stressful task. However, there are several tips that can alleviate the annoyances and make the search for a new place fun.

Be Specific

When apartment hunting, make sure to determine which features are a must-have and where it’s okay to compromise. If there’s a perfect two bedroom in a great location, but it lacks the perfect yard, it may be time to adjust priorities. Decide what is necessary and stick to it, but try to remain realistic.

Find Out the Included Utilities

This is another major must-do when looking for a new place. Many rentals include some utilities, but there are hidden costs to look out for such as trash or water costs. If not included, these costs can add up quickly. As well, there may be additional charges for parking or a security system.

Ask Around

This may seem obvious, but asking friends of the family for landlord referrals is helpful. If anything, it’ll help weed out the inattentive and neglectful landlords. Who knows, a friend may even know someone who has apartments for rent.

Take Measurements

Depending on what furniture one currently has, this may be an important part of house hunting. Making sure the bed fits in a smaller bedroom or being able to comfortably walk around seating in the living room is essential to a cozy environment.

Avoid Scams

We all know of popular classified sites that offer rental deals, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure the listing includes photos and a local phone number. Also, be sure to check the average rent prices in the area; if the price seems like too good of a deal, it likely is. There may also be a catch to a cheaper place, like bad parking or poor renovations.

Check the Pet Policy

If a pet is important, double check the lease for costs such as a pet deposit. Also, there may be weight, number, and breed restrictions to consider. Some listings may not mention a pet policy, but it’s worth asking. Some landlords allow pets on a case-by-case basis.

Bring a Friend

Always have someone tag along when looking for apartments to rent. It always pays to have an extra opinion, and they may be able to point out things that wouldn’t always be noticed on a solo look. It’ll also be convenient to have one person ask questions while the other takes photos and measurements.

Make a List

This may not be common, but it’s a great idea to make a list of questions to ask when hunting for apartments to rent. Getting caught up in the excitement of the search can make one forget about asking about things such as the average electric bill cost or if the washer and dryer are included. Having a list makes a person prepared, but it also makes them appear responsible to the potential new landlord.

Keeping this advice in mind, one can be sure to find a great new place to make a wonderful home.

Houston TX Apartments You Can Rent Without a Job

Houston, the 4th largest city in the United States, has numerous apartment homes for anyone wanting to lease. One question that many people ask, especially in this type of economy we’re in, is how one can be approved for an apartment without necessarily showing proof of income. For many complexes in the sprawling city, having a job is a major prerequisite to being approved. Not only does one need to have solid employment, but one needs to be earning enough to afford the monthly rent. Those who are jobless are therefore at a major disadvantage when it comes to being approved. But is there a way to actually get approved in Houston even without a job?

A few places where you can rent without a job

  • Westchase District
  • The Heights
  • Mission Bend
  • Katy
  • Alief

Navigating joblessness when applying

We have seen that in Houston, renting an apartment involves being able to prove both income and employment. Many apartments actually go to the pain of verifying and this is usually done by a simply phone call to an 800-number or asking for original paycheck stubs or tax returns. Unfortunately in this economy, there is a sizeable chunk of apartment applicants who are without gainful employment.

One of the best ways to get approved for an apartment if you are indeed jobless is to have a co-signer. This is someone in good standing in the community who can attest that they know you and are willing to vouch for your authenticity. Some apartments will approve on the strength of this alone but some will insist on additional information.

Another layer of qualifiers that you can possibly provide is a list of your assets. If you own any property that brings in income, for instance, a rental property, you can show this as proof of income. Some apartments will take this in addition to having a co-signer.

A last and final step you can take to get approved in Houston without a job is to offer to pay a deposit. In addition to a deposit, one can also offer to pay 3 months of rent in advance and also show that they are actively looking for a job. This gives the leasing management the impression that the tenant will find gainful employment soon.

Remember that even after providing all this information, it is still the apartment’s discretion to rent to you or not. Some might also conduct credit checks and background checks to make a determination.

Collecting Rent Payments Online

Collecting rent, writing receipts, updating tenant payment histories, and sending late payment notices are all time-consuming tasks. For property management companies and landlords, online rent payment solutions eliminate the need to manually collect rent payments and manage the related bookkeeping and paperwork. Electronic rent collection solutions provide a convenient, fast, and secure method for managing all these tasks, and more. Online rent payment solutions will save time and can significantly reduce the number of late payments.

With online rent payment solutions, apartment community websites can be customized to accept online payments from tenants and the funds are automatically deposited, thus eliminating the need to prepare checks for deposit and make a trip to the bank. Landlords and managers also have the option to select multiple bank accounts to manage deposits for different properties separately. Additionally, with seamless integration to landlord / property management software, tenant payment histories are immediately updated and available for review and landlords can monitor monthly rent collection activity in real-time.

Landlords can utilize features that include tenant information updates, property information updates, and tenant email notifications. Options include email notification of rent payment and late fee schedules, late payment notifications, policy updates, and the latest property and association updates. Landlords and property management companies can also list vacancies, accept applications online, and collect application fees and security deposits electronically.

With twenty-four hour access, tenants will appreciate the convenience of online rent payment. The process is secure, easy, and takes only minutes. There are several payment options available – debit cards, credit cards, or e-checks. In addition, tenants can choose to make one-time monthly payments or set up automatic payments using credit and debit cards. Tenants receive all transaction receipts via email, as well as other property management notifications. Tenants can also update their name and phone number information, view their payment history, and send maintenance requests.

Online rent payment solutions give landlords and property managers the peace of mind knowing rent collection is efficient, easy, and secure. Manual rent collection systems are time-consuming and, depending on the number of properties involved, can take two to three days every month. With online rent collection solutions, landlords and property managers are able to spend this time on other important tasks.

Getting started is easy. Simply fill out an application and once the landlord / property manager merchant account is activated, electronic rent collection can begin. For peace of mind, security and privacy are maintained at the highest levels, protecting stored or transmitted information at all times. Online rent collection solutions are affordable and available now.

Can a No-Money Down Rent to Own Work?

Are you curious about rent to own, but don’t have any money to put down? Wondering if a no-money down rent to own option can work for you?

It is a very important question and good for you for doing some research on the topic. You will need to understand the challenges that will come as a result of a no-money down rent to own. Hopefully this article will heighten awareness around some of the questions you need to ask to protect yourself if you are pursuing a no-money down rent to own.

Simply put, a no-money down rent to own is one where you do not have to put any money down in order to get into the program.

What are the implications?

1. More risk to the investor so they will offset their risks by charging you higher monthly rents (maybe even higher than market rents). I have seen situations where rents for a no money down rent to own were as high as $2000-2500 when the market rents in the same area were $1500 per month. This amount of $2000-2500 does not always account for any money being credited towards your down payment so be sure to ASK!

2. You will have to save up a greater portion of your down payment by yourself before the end of the rent to own program or risk not qualifying for a mortgage and consequently losing the property. Looking at this in terms of numbers, an average house price of $300,000 will require a 5% down (or $15,000). If you come into the rent to own with ZERO down, you will need to save up $15,000 over an average term of 3 years (for example) to qualify for that mortgage at the end of the term. That means saving $5,000 a year. If your rent to own allots, say, $200 a month towards your down payment, you would accumulate $7,200 over the three years. That means you would need to make up the balance, or $7,800 yourself. If you are unable to do this, you will not qualify for your mortgage and you will more than likely be asked to leave the house at the end of the rent to own term.

3. You will not build up any equity in the property (basically you are a renter (paying higher than market rents) with the hope that you can save up enough down payment and purchase the property at the end of the rent to own program. Equity is the amount of money you have invested in the property or earned on the value gain for the property. For example, if you put $10,000 down on a property, you automatically have $10,000 in equity in that property. If you put no money down, you have zero equity in the property.

4. In many cases (not all but many), you will be left to your own devices to improve your credit situation and save up a minimum 5% down payment. If you have received no support on your credit repair and your credit has not been repaired enough to qualify for 5% down, you may be required by the lender or bank to give 10%, 15% or 20% down (which you will likely not have since you were targeting saving 5% down payment). Looking back at the average price of house from the 2nd point ($300,000), if you were unable to improve your credit over the term of the rent to own program and needed 10% to get the mortgage, you would not be required to come up with $30,000 down, not the $15,000 from the previous example. If $15,000 sounds like a daunting task, imagine $30,000 or even more if 15% or 20% is needed.

So what does all this mean to you?

Do your DUE DILIGENCE!

Ask questions and be VERY sure you know all of the pitfalls that you can run into if you choose to enter into a no money down rent to own. As a start, ask questions like:

1. How much is the monthly payment going to be? (compare it against other rentals in the area)

2. How much of each monthly payment is going towards your down payment?

3. Do they provide credit support?

4. What happens at the end of the rent to own term if you cannot get a mortgage?

I am not saying a rent to own with no money down cannot succeed. I am just saying that the road to success is MUCH harder this way and requires a very different level of determination and discipline.

Secrets You Should Know About A Rent To Own Home Deal

So you are sick and tired of renting. You want to own your own home, but you do not have much of a down payment. No doubt you have heard of "the perfect solution" – rent to own. But is it really as perfect as everyone says – hardly. There are some secrets about rent to own properties that you need to know about. They are most overlooked aspects of a rent to own deal. So let us find out the truth about lease to own homes.

How Rent to Own Works

So this is how it works. You rent a house with the option to buy. You will have a lease that will typically last between 2 to 3 years. The seller will also expect you to put some sort of upfront down payment or option fee. This is usually 1 to 7 percent of the agreed upon purchase price. In addition to the rent, you will be paying what is called a Rent Premium or Rent Credit. This extra amounts put towards the purchase price of the house.

Let's see how a Salt Lake City, Utah rent to own would work out. As of January, 2017 the median rent for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in Salt Lake City is $ 1,500. Now the additional amount that you will pay towards the purchase is negotiable. Generally you should expect to pay 20 to 50% above the market rent. For the sake of argument, let's go with 25% which is about average. So you will pay $ 1,500 a month in rent and an additional $ 375 towards the purchase. If your lease lasts 3 years, you would have a rent credit in the amount of $ 13,500. Median home values ​​in Salt Lake City are $ 280,000. If you paid a 3% option fee of $ 8,400 and combined that with the rent credit, you would end up with a down payment of $ 21,900 or 7.8%. Not bad.

The Truth about Rent to Own Homes

Do you want to know the dirty little secret few buyers in your position realize? If you decide that you are unable or unwilling to buy the house at the end of the lease agreement, you forfeit ALL of the money you have paid. That includes the Rent Premium and the option fee. Gone. All of it. The seller keeps all the money and you get to call a moving van and start all over.

You would be surprised on how many times this happens. The buyer may run into some problems with the house and they want out. Money lost. The buyer may not be able to qualify for a mortgage. Money lost. Or, imagine that the seller fails to pay the mortgage and the property gets foreclosed on. Yikes! Money lost.

So, before you race to snap up the closest rent to own or lease option property, make sure you do your due diligence and have the house inspected. Start working with a lender in order to qualify for a mortgage and for goodness sake, make sure you absolutely love the house.

However, a calculated decision of renting to own a house has it own benefits as well.