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Renters and Landlords - The New Market

Renters and Landlords - The New Market

by Cecilia Sherrard

More renters will be looking for rental properties across the country and of course in Cleveland Ohio area with the increase of foreclosures. It's inevitable that with supply and demand, rental property will be critiqued by renters and landlords will be critiquing tenants. There has to be a sort of happy medium in this equation. Many new renters will have tarnished credit and rental history as they're just entering or coming out of a foreclosure. Most landlords these days require good credit, past recommendations and references from previous landlords.

So what do you do? How do you ensure getting selected as the new tenant and how do you select good tenants? For both property owners wanting to rent and previous home owners needing a new place to call home, there are things to remember and guidelines to follow.

Landlords: It may be time to scrap your previous application form and make some needed changes for the changing times. Ask if their previous place of residence ended in a foreclosure. If it did, you can contact the current listing brokerage about the condition of the home when they first listed it. This may give you a good indication of how they kept the property and if there was major damage to the home when they left. You can also find out online using your county auditor website if the rental applicant had previously owned a home and what happened to it.

A more in-depth detailed explanation of why a potential tenant wants to rent your property and relying on references outside of previous homeowners may be necessary. Try focusing on long term references that can vouch for the applicant. Employers are a good resource as well as past employers. You can learn a lot about an applicant's character and responsibleness by talking in detail with their employers and even previous neighbors.

Try being a little more lenient with the credit history and understanding of the potential renter's current situation. Not everyone will fit a standard mold of acceptance and each person/family may need to be considered individually. Remember that just because they lost their home due to foreclosure and not being able to keep up with the mortgage or not being able to refinance a ridiculous loan, doesn't necessarily mean they're bad renters. Some however will be. You'll need to check employment thoroughly and make sure your lease is complete covering all aspects of fees for late rent, eviction proceedings and damages.

Renters: If you're looking to rent a home now that you've recently lost yours or even if you haven't been involved with a foreclosure, remember that the market is a little tougher now for rental property. Selections are a little tighter and finding the perfect home in your price range may require acting fast and dealing with the competition of other renters on the market. When looking for a property to rent, understand that there will be different types of properties and landlords out there.

Type A landlords will likely be a family or individual that can't unload the home due to owing more on it than it's worth. Some of these landlords will have moved out of the state or area due to relocation and are desperately trying to rent their property. These homes will typically rent for what is owed on the mortgage and may not be in the best condition. Ask this type of landlord why they're renting and if they own other properties. A Type A landlord may not have the ability or means to tend to the property or repairs like a local or more experienced landlord. Make sure your rental agreement spells out who makes repairs and takes care of the exterior and interior upkeep of the property.

Type B landlords are a tad more experienced and often do this for a living. Many own several properties and either take care of them personally or have a team and/or property manager involved to take care of any 3am water heater leaks. Remember, not ALL are on top of things just because they're local or do this for their business, but asking them in advance how they maintain the property's needs may give you an indication of their character as a landlord. Many of these type B property owners are also in it for the profit, and rent may be a little higher. Some also buy cheap properties and rehab them for the sole purpose of renting them out for profit. Keep an eye on the competition and make sure you're renting at a fair price for the condition, area and size of the home. Check for quality in the upgrades like carpet, paint, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures and appliances. Remember that you'll be living and using this home. Wear and tear often show more with cheaper rehab jobs. You might get stuck losing your security deposit and/or making certain repairs to these types of rehab homes.

Bottom line: Shop around until you find something or someone that fits you. Rely more on your gut and first impressions to determine if your landlord or potential renter is a good fit. Relying only on the past or credit score numbers may cost you a good renter and falling in love with a property without knowing more about the landlord could give you endless headaches.

Cecilia Sherrard is a full time real estate agent in Cleveland Ohio. Her website and real estate blog are dedicated to useful tips, information and articles pertaining to all things home. From buying, selling, investing or financing, the Cleveland Real Estate team is ready to assist.

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