One of the most inconvenient circumstances I have found myself in this year has definitely been my rental home hunt. As my girlfriend and I have become a little more established, our home needs have grown. She and I both need a room to use as our dedicated home office, and I need a garage so I can work on my car. One of the more frustrating things we didn’t expect about this exciting new adventure is the process of finding a privately-owned townhome or condo.
Vacant Properties Go Fast
When apartment hunting, things are so easy. If the apartment you want isn’t ready yet, you can just check out a comparable one. If somebody jumps on yours, there are usually a few like it that you can check out as alternatives. Apartment management companies usually know what will and won’t be available when you get there, and the application process is pretty streamlined. The main benefit is that you can plan a month or so out, get your deposit down, and not have to worry about not having a place to live when your current lease ends.
With privately-owned townhomes or condos, though, you’re usually dealing with already-vacant properties. This means that the owner is trying to get somebody in as soon as possible. That way, they can ensure they don’t lose out on a month of rent. For me and my girlfriend, this has meant getting turned down five or six times because our moveout date at the end of the month was too far out. So it becomes a gamble to wait and just hope we can find something decent by the time we have to move. It is entirely possible that the place we move into hasn’t even been posted on Zillow yet!
Pandemic Economics Don’t Help
Just the same as so many others, I was laid off from my day job due to COVID. While I have no income issues (thankfully), this makes applying for new places hard. Both me and my girlfriend have excellent credit, but like so many others, income is hard to prove without paystubs.
We have found a decent workaround, which is really just being honest about the situation and offering alternatives. I have sent bank statements, as well as my previous year’s tax returns to prove the income I used to make! Yet another annoying part of trying to rent in a time like this.
Touring Issues and Sight-Unseen Renters
The most predictable issue on this list is how difficult setting up a tour can be. Many owners want an application before even allowing a tour. Obviously, this leaves me hesitant to pay a $30 application fee for a place I might not even like. While it may seem like everyone would agree with me, that is where a final issue emerges.
There are evidently many people who have no problem signing an application, and even a lease, without even seeing the property. I found this out when I requested a tour to a place that had been posted “0 Days Ago” and they kindly let me know they already had a tenant sign papers.
Oh, what a lovely time we live in.
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