The rental market on the Treasure Coast is definitely a hot one! Homes are usually rented within several weeks of being placed on the market and rents are on the rise. If you are looking to rent in this type of steady environment, you want to make sure that you have everything in line before you put in your application to ensure that it will be approved.
In the past several weeks I’ve have received many inquires about rental properties, particularly in Port St. Lucie. Clients are not quite ready to purchase a home or they are moving here from a different area or they just want to get to know the area a little better. Whatever the reason may be, let’s talk about what you can expect when applying for a rental property.
Application Fees: Cost of an application can range anywhere from $35 to $100.
Processing an application does take time and a good landlord will want to run a background check. The reason for this is because they want to protect their investment. It means the landlord cares about the property and who the tenants are. In the long run, this will benefit you as caring landlords are more apt to maintain their properties.
Oh yeah, the application fee; it is nonrefundable!
Proof of Income: Be prepared to back up your income.
This could mean pay stubs; W-2’s or even your copies of last years’ tax return. What I am finding is a common theme among income requirements is that landlords are looking for 3 times the amount of income as the monthly rent.
For example, if a home is renting for $1000.00 a month, the expected monthly income would be $3,000.00 a month. And while this ratio does seem to be the rule of thumb for the majority of properties out there, it is not always the case. Be sure to ask before you submit your application what the expected income ratio would be so your application doesn't get turned down and you are out that non-refundable application fee.
Credit: Ah, yes, your credit does play a factor these days if you want to rent. No, landlords are not expecting perfect credit scores however they do look for prior delinquencies, past due payments and even missed medical bills or student loan payments. It seems the magic number these days is a minimum of 600 however this is not written in stone.
Check your credit score before you apply and if it is not as high as you thought, don’t be afraid to talk to the landlord or listing agent about it. Explain, perhaps, what the scenario is and what steps you are taking raise that score. There are also places that can help you clean up some old things on your report. One the Keyes Co. likes to use is Credit Us. But be sure to do this before you submit your application because, just another reminder, that application fee is NON-refundable.
Home Owner Association Fees: If you find a property located within a gated community or perhaps a condo or town home, chances are the property will belong to an association of some kind. It is true that the landlord is responsible to maintaining these fees out of the monthly rent however be sure to ask if there are any additional fees that you, the tenant, would be responsible for.
Nine times out of ten, you will need to seek approval from the board BEFORE you are allowed to move you belongings in. Do you know what that means? Yes, another non-refundable fee.
Appliances: Standard appliances include a refrigerator and stove. If you are lucky, a dishwasher and microwave as well. A washer and dryer on the other hand can be hit or miss. The hooks up will mostly likely be there but the tenant will need to be ready to purchase a set of their own.
Renting these days can seem complicated but working with an agent can be helpful. They can help you in the process and be your advocate. Whether you are looking to buy, rent or sell, I'd love to sit down with you and see if there is anyway I can assist you.