Whether you’re preparing to rent for the first or fifth time, the rental application process can often feel overwhelming. For prospective tenants, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start when it comes to figuring out how to apply for a rental house. But with a better understanding of what to expect – and what you’ll need to do – you can speed up the process and make it as stress-free and successful as possible.
What’s the typical rental application process?
Although there are some variations between different property and/or leasing managers, the application process is nearly always going to be the very first step you take towards renting a new home.
Depending on the property, you might complete the rental application process:
- In-person with the landlord or leasing team
- During the property’s open house
- At a designated leasing office
The process will involve collecting financial and personal details, so the property manager/landlord can ensure that the rental home is the right fit for you. Essentially, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a process in which you are applying to rent a home.
What do property managers look for in a rental lease application?
The average application for a rental might look surprisingly complicated for a first-time renter. However, it’s crucial to complete the entire application fully because the details are an important factor in the decision-making screening process.
As you would imagine, a landlord/property manager needs to be confident that an applicant is financially capable of paying the monthly rent on time and will be a law-abiding, conscientious tenant.
Proof of income
Proof of income is usually provided in the form of pay stubs or bank statements and is used to confirm that your monthly income will be sufficient to pay rent. You may be asked to submit your most recent tax return in some cases. There may not necessarily be a strict minimum income requirement; rather, your payment history, job security, income, and rent will all be considered.
In addition to being able to afford rent financially, you’ll also need to prove that you have a solid history of paying your bills on time. A credit report will show if you have a prior eviction notice, bankruptcies, and other major financial events. Credit screening also allows for verification of your personal information and residential rental history.
There are certain areas or circumstances in which a landlord can be held liable for illegal activity occurring at a rental property, so it makes sense that a criminal background check is a staple of any rental application.
Previous landlord or personal references
Positive landlord references can go a long way in setting you apart as an ideal tenant, especially if you’re in a competitive rental market. Something as simple as a reference letter from a past landlord can show that you have an excellent history of paying rent and caring for a property. Even if you don’t have reference letters, be prepared to supply the contact information of your past landlord and/or personal references.
Co-signer application if you have new or low credit
If you have a low credit score or have yet to establish a credit history, you may need to find someone to co-sign your application. A co-signer essentially agrees to be responsible for following through on the financial agreement should you fail to pay rent as required.
Finally, a cover letter is typically an optional add-on to a rental application process, but it’s one that may be more than worth your time. In your cover letter, you can add a personal touch to your application, distinguishing yourself as a “real person” that is truly interested in the property in question. It’s also an opportunity to explain challenges like bad credit or criminal history.
How long does approval for a rental application take?
Usually, you can expect to hear back in 24 to 72 hours. However, certain factors (for example, a high volume of applications) may affect this timeline. You can always ask the property manager how long it will take to receive a reply.
Once you’re approved, you’ll then sign the lease.
After your application is approved, the next step is signing your lease. The lease will outline all expectations associated with the property, including your rent, how long the lease is, and other important conditions. Make sure to read the agreement in full so you know exactly what you are signing.
Find Your Perfect Rental House and Dream Home
Searching for the ideal rental is about more than simply picking a property; it should be about choosing a home you’ll be happy to call yours for a long time to come. Instead of settling for a generic apartment or a basic, landlord-owned option, why not move to a professionally-managed, master-planned community specifically built with tenants in mind?
Wan Bridge is a Texas-based developer that is changing the rental market for the better, redefining the concept of homes for rent by building luxury properties tailored for the needs of the tenants. With rental communities in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, we are dedicated to creating beautiful places to call home in many of the most desirable areas of the state. Wan Bridge’s build-to-rent communities are a balanced blend of high-end design, community amenities, and the convenience of renting from a professional property management team – here, you truly can have it all.
Learn more about how to apply to rent a home from Wan Bridge, and discover which of our communities is right for you when you contact our team today!
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