One of the lovely things about surfing on the Internet is that people can use the search engines of their choice to find just about anything they desire. A significant number of people use the World Wide Web to search for their potential home. As a Realtor, if you do not have an on-line presence, you are doing your firm and yourself a disservice because you may be missing the opportunity to help someone find what he or she needs in your neighborhood. Someone looking to relocate into a new area can find millions of apartments for rent within the blink of an eye, but at some point, they are going to need help to narrow their focus down to a few viable candidates. They will seek out a real estate professional.
I had an interesting call yesterday from a young woman who discovered my new construction listing from my video listing advertisement on Active Rain, but she wanted to rent one of the apartments rather than buy a new home. She was very sad to discover it was unavailable as a rental, but I am in the process of helping her find somewhere new to reside with her children. You never know what may induce a prospect to call you, but when opportunity knocks, it is always helpful to have a pre-packaged presentation for your potential customer to help educate the seller/buyer/renter on what you can and cannot do for them.
Besides my usual stop in the Multiple Listing Service, I find Apartments.com, ApartmentFinder.com, and CraigsList.com to be very useful supplements in my hunt for rental housing. I always hope that my customers and clients can find what they are looking for in my Resource Center at TannStarr.com, but that is not always the case and as a cooperating broker, I am more than happy to go wherever I need to be to secure a home for the person I am representing.
Here are a few tips for prospects who want to rent an apartment, townhouse or home in New York City:
- Do your preliminary research into the areas where you believe it is that you wish to reside.
- Contact a Realtor to represent your best interests and decide if you would like to enter into a brokerage agreement and become a client for a specified negotiated interim (e.g. think thirty day intervals like 60 days, 90 days, 120 days, 180 days, or a year/365 days…).
- How have you managed your debt? Do you have reserves in case something bad happens? You will need to be honest with yourself about where you are and where you are going. Most renters would like to be homeowners someday. If this move is the last rental before you buy, your credit history with your property owner will be very important when the bank checks to see if you have paid your rent on time.
- Having three to six month living expenses saved and being prepared to pay the expenditures for renting (e.g. fees, security deposit, moving personnel, truck rental, fuel and utilities, etc.) is a good idea. Save as much money as you can, no matter the amount.
- Purchase and use as many Energy Star compliant light bulbs, consumer electronics and appliances as possible to save on your energy bills.
- Buy power strips to use as a turn off switch for electronics that continue to draw power while you are sleeping. (You would be surprised at just how many watts standby power consumption actually consumes while your gadgets are supposedly “off.”)
- Try to select a residence where you have access to public transportation (in case your vehicle becomes inoperable or you have visitors who do not drive, etc.)
- Make the move a smooth one by not waiting until the last minute to search for housing.
BTW, Kelly Willey has a cool post on Real Estate lingo that you can read here.
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