Whether you are moving out of state for love, work, or a change of scenery, finding the perfect rental condo makes the experience even better.
A rental condo search isn’t an easy task when you don’t know what to look for. It’s even harder with 1,000 miles between you and the desired destination. Nevertheless, careful planning and knowledge of important issues to account for will increase the probability of finding a beautiful property faster and hassle-free.
How to Find Out-of-State Condo Rentals
Hire a rental agent
Finding a qualified real estate agent is your best option when you are searching for a condo in a new city. Not only will they advise you on the best neighborhoods, but also streamline the process. Since they are familiar with the area, rental agents can advise you on the best part of town to live in based on the experience you want and your budget.
These professionals will be a big help if you want to rent an out-of-state condo. Rental agents do all the legwork like vetting landlords and checking out the condos even before you set foot in the state. Additionally, they negotiate your lease terms and rent to favor your needs and preferences. In some cities, it is the landlord who pays the agent’s fee, which means you have no reason not to hire a rental agent.
Search for listings online
You can find anything on the internet nowadays, and a rental condo is no exception. Searching for listings online is quite convenient since you can do it anytime and anywhere. Find a regularly updated internet listing service that offers verified rentals, to avoid rental scams. Make sure you use the filter options to find what you want easily. It doesn’t cost a dime, so it’s the best option for those on a tight budget.
How to Vet Out-of-State Condo Rentals
You shouldn’t rent a condo just because it looks fabulous in the pictures online. You need to vet the listing before signing the contract. Some of the things you should keep in mind in this case are:
1. Utility costs
Sometimes, utilities are included in the monthly rent, but that’s not always the case. You should check the lease to determine the utilities you are required to pay for separately. Usually, you have to pay for sewer, water, gas, electricity and internet services. These costs more or less depend on the state and neighborhood you’re in, as well as overall consumption and habits. If possible, ask the neighbors about utilities, to get a clearer idea of what the costs will be.
2. The neighborhood
It can be tempting to pick the first decent condo you find, especially if you have other demanding tasks to complete. However, doing this will only bring regrets later. You should check out the neighborhood and understand the community better before signing the lease. You also need to confirm that it is a safe neighborhood. Some areas have specific rules and expectations which you should get familiar with beforehand. The other things you need to know about the neighborhood before renting include pet policies, parking regulations, or specific traffic rules.
3. The lease
Go through the lease carefully before signing it and confirm it covers everything you need and the points already discussed with the landlord. Some of the things you need to confirm, as far as the lease is concerned, include the due date for rent, the length of the lease, rules on subletting, whether you can have roommates and parking rules. In addition, it should indicate whether your deposit is refundable at the end of the lease and who will be responsible for the condo maintenance. Landlords can adjust the terms and conditions in the lease to suit your needs if you ask, but this can only happen before you sign it.
How to Impress Your Landlord
Condos located in rent-controlled areas or trendy neighborhoods are quite competitive. Therefore, expect landlords here to have dozens of applications at any given time. Knowing how to impress a prospective landlord can win you the property. Some of the things you can do to win points include:
1. Be prepared
In case you have to fill out a rental application you should get this done and submitted as quickly as possible. Include at least 3 references and past rental/residence information. Also, you might need to submit proof of ability to pay rent. Your financial information might be required for credit checks or running a check on your deposits. If you secure a meeting date with the landlord, you should have liquid funds ready to pay for the deposit and application fees. Proper preparation will impress the landlord and increase the likelihood of you getting the condo.
2. Prove you are a good tenant
Landlords would rather have an empty property than rent to unruly tenants. Therefore, you have to be on your best behavior. Get to the meeting early and be presentable. You want to come across as an agreeable and responsible person. Complaining about trivial things tells the landlord that you are fussy and overly demanding, and it might cost you the condo. If you need some changes or repairs done, you need to make the suggestions in a friendly manner and justify your requests.
3. Have something unique to offer
You need to stand out from the other applicants by going the extra mile to get noticed. Things like putting down a higher security deposit, prepaying your rent, or buying a renter’s insurance will make you stand out. However, tread carefully because you don’t want to set the stage for the landlord to trample on you in the future. The goal is to impress without coming off as desperate.
How to Prepare for the Move
Once you have secured the condo, you should prepare to move in. Have the condo professionally cleaned before moving in. Also, any repairs or renovations that ought to be completed should be handled before the move. Ensure the timeline is indicated on the lease to avoid problems with the landlord, and make sure they know and approve of any change you want to make, such as a paint job.
Make sure you undergo a decluttering process before moving, to get rid of any unnecessary items you would otherwise carry all the way to another state and dispose of afterward. Pack all of your items in sturdy boxes and make sure you note which boxes need to be handled carefully. Pack by room, not by items, so that when you find yourself in your new home, you can easily unpack and settle everything down the day of the move.
Searching for an out-of-state condo rental can be overwhelming in some cases, but you shouldn’t give up. Even if you don’t end up getting the first rental, you can always find another one. In case your application gets turned down, ask the landlord why. Constructive feedback will help adjust your next rental application to increase your chances of getting picked.