The Pandemic Started in 2020 and only seems right that in 2022 we start to see change for the better. Masks are coming off, people are traveling more and the boss is no longer making remote work the status quo or you are tired of living at home and feel it’s safe to move back into the city.
In 2021 I really encouraged folks to move back into the city. Many of my clients listened, but some didn’t, and now find the Rental search a bit of a challenge. This year everyone is making the move back into the city and rental prices are behaving that way. We are in a full-blown pandemic shift back to life before Covid, and that means returning to the city.
Rental Climate Change
Look it is rare inventory isn’t the problem. 2020 and part of 2021 was the only time we had too much inventory. Oftentimes we don’t have enough of a certain price range and a healthy amount of other price points. 2022 it doesn’t matter your budget there is a shortage of options making it a challenge for all. If you are a renter I have a few tips. You should end your search sooner than later if you think about these tips. You also might not get as frustrated and have a new perspective on the process.
Work Smarter not Harder
1) Make a list
The list should include all areas of interest. Set a realistic budget and be honest with yourself and the agent.
Remember agents who ask alot of questions are asking so they can max your time and their time.
Being efficient with your time is always a win, but being efficient saves you a lot of stress too. Complete the paperwork and bring it on showing if you think you are going to like it. You don’t have to tell the agent you completed the paperwork. Don’t waste time telling the agent I will get the paperwork to you. Instead, hand it to the agent after the showing, and focus on pay stubs or offer letters. If you have paperwork ahead of time use it to your advantage. Don’t invent challenges in your search
4) Clarifying as much info before the showing
Don’t assume you are the only showing the agent has. Ask all your questions before the showing whenever possible. Need paperwork clarified ask them before the showing. Make sure your paperwork is ready to go complete. Less questions an agent has to ask you the better off you are. If there are multiple applications many agents won’t come back to you saying I am missing this information from you. They will just go on to the next application that is complete.
5) If the agent has a video of the property and you like it sight unseen is always an option. It’s not an option I love, but it is an option.
6) Use technology whenever you need to. Housemate can’t be on showing do a zoom or facetime tour. Take a video when on showings but do ask before shooting away.
7) Talk to your housemate about what you will do if you both are not available for a showing. Do you trust your roommate, Are you comfortable looking at an apartment via zoom? Make sure you are comfortable with whatever process could be delivered to you during your apartment hunt. Doing two separate showings might not be an option and sometimes is a great way to lose out.
Educate Laws that protect you and how it applies to your housing search
8) Get familiar with Mass Housing Law and what the guidelines apartment must meet. Can a landlord charge a Pet Fee? Can a Landlord collect more than 4 months of rent to move into an apartment? Is an emotional Support Animal covered under the disability act? Do I need to disclose why I have an Emotional Support Animal? Does the landlord have to have a unit professionally painted after every time the unit turns over? Do landlords have to delead a unit? I know the answers to these questions and real estate agents should know the answer, but honestly, if you’re renting an apartment a tenant should know. I would rather educate myself than have someone else educate me.
The agent is the last person you should blame
9) Not getting feedback about your application
You might want to realize it’s the landlord or property manager holding things up not your agent.
10) Ask your agent next time when you start work and when work ends for you today.
The answer to the above question might shock you. Real estate agents who are good at their job realize their job is not a 9-5 job it’s often 24-7 and they might see clients more than friends and family. Peak season agents work very long hours. Many work into the late-night hours with emails, texts, setting up showings for the next day and writing leases. Please remember you are not being ignored but we will get back to you. If we tell you to email us or text us vs call us we are not doing this to add more work for you, but we are doing this because we know we can get back to you faster than a call.
11) Parents having children rent apartments. Educate yourself on the state your son or daughter is renting in.
Massachusetts is a tenant-friendly state. This means the laws are more in favor of tenants than they are of landlords. This means taking an out-of-state co-signer is risky for landlords so an out-of-state co-signer might not be in the cards.
A cosigner that lives in the same state is easier to attach a lien on one home, serve documents to your home or business, and go after money if you live in the state of Massachusetts. So, if you can’t be a cosigner ask if there are other ways to make the landlord more comfortable. You can always offer the landlord can’t ask but you can always offer something.
Respect agents that are working for you
12) Contacting different agents in the same company is a waste of your time.
Agents in the same company have access to the same inventory. Being loyal to an agent is wonderful, but not always realistic. Realistically a Coldwell Banker agent will have exclusive listings, not on the open market, and Gibson Will have exclusive listings. Pick one agent in a company, and if you must work with multiple don’t work with folks in the same company. Also, the good agents that do a really good job if they know you working with many agents they might not give you alot of their time. They will tell you about in-house listings but might not do much else. clients who I know are shopping around I don’t bend over backward since frankly, I know they won’t remember me later. I will go that extra mile for clients honest with me and do it sufficiently.
13) If you are requesting something from an agent and not being patient you’re creating the expectation that you will turn over whatever you’re asking quickly. If there is no sense of urgency don’t be a jerk texting and emailing them repetitively. Once you know your request has been heard wait for the agent to get back with the info you requested.
If the apartment checks the boxes don’t think what else could I be missing
14) Many of us know you would rather do anything else but find housing. It might start as a fun task but often gets annoying quickly. If you find a place that checks the boxes apply and do it quickly. Inventory this year is tight in all price points and like you agents feel the pressure not once in and while but every single day so when they tell you about the market place it’s not a sale pitch. If you think it is don’t listen and deal with the disappointment but it is not your agent’s fault. You might also want to tell the agent you told me and I didn’t believe you I am sorry I didn’t. You are not required to say this but it’s nice to hear.
Move with a purpose
16) Apartment hunting is alot like shoe or suit shopping. Sometimes you have to try on alot of places to find the right place. If you have reasonable expectations you will find what you’re looking for.
Having a mental plan before you start the search will make the process less challenging. You might find the search pleasantly surprised you how easy it was, but remember it could be you just lucked out too.
Trying to find that perfect place you want to call home let’s figure out a well-thought plan whether it’s for rent or for sale let’s make the process less stressful. Contact me anytime