It’s a renter’s market and today RentWiki.com, the first online site to integrate social media and networking tools with property listings, has issued tips to help consumers in search of a new home avoid listings that won’t meet their budget, apartment or neighborhood needs.
“If you were thinking of relocating now is the time – but knowing current listing terms and what you want beforehand is a must,” said Jamie Gallo, CEO, RentWiki.com. “This requires a bit of research, but RentWiki.com hopes to reduce homework time by offering a few tips to help narrow your search and guide you towards a better deal.”
Before the initial search there are a few things to prepare and have on hand such as a realistic budget, copies of your credit report, your rental history and references. It’s also a good idea to have a “must have” list and “would like” list, so you know which items you value as luxury versus necessary.
To find the best overall living situation, consider the following:
1. Get to know the neighborhood and other tenants through online resources such as Yelp, Walk, Score and RentWiki.com. First-hand resident knowledge on what it’s like to live in the area can save you time by eliminating listings that don’t fit your requirements.
2. If single, consider a roommate(s). Two bedroom apartments are 45% cheaper per bedroom than singles.
3. Understand your lease terms, monthly rent, and all plausible fees. Know trash pick-up days, whether electricity/gas/water is included, standards of behavior (noise, cleanliness), pets, etc. Contact your city’s rent board if you’re unsure about a particular clause so you know your rights and avoid surprise fees.
4. Inquire about incentives such as:
a. Referral bonuses or discounts for submitting an application online.
b. Local merchant discounts.
c. Reduced deposits or bonds (as opposed to application/security deposits).
d. “Honors" points for resident loyalty or escrow money programs for staying with one management company for a period time
5. Offer 10% below the listing price, and settle on a month-to-month lease. This will provide the flexibility needed if the rental market takes a significant dip.
6. Request a 5% interest rate on the deposit.
“Remember: don’t jump into a rental agreement without doing your homework,” added Gallo. “Most people who do regret it within six months – but by following these tips you can avoid ‘renter’s remorse’ and reap the benefits of the current renters’ market.”
RentWiki.com is the first apartment and rental Internet Listing Service (ILS) to employ social media elements that help renters answer their ultimate question: "What are local residents saying about the neighborhood?" Through the use of contributed content and social networking, RentWiki provides a forum for renters to assist other renters in their rental housing search by sharing their knowledge of neighborhoods and available housing options in the area. In an effort to create the ultimate rental search, RentWiki's neighborhood and property wikis contain valuable information on local businesses, recreation & entertainment, public transit, restaurants, social scene, and much more.