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An image of a family walking into a house with a for rent sign in front of itThe market for a new rental home is tough these days. With a fluctuating and often highly competitive housing market, more residents than ever before are choosing to rent instead of purchase. It’s never been more important to be serious about rental prospects. You should approach seeking a new home for rental as if it were a job and act accordingly.

If you’ve been having difficulty finding a rental home, here are a few tips for improving your odds.

1.)  Look at houses quickly. It’s important to watch the market in your area closely for new listings and visit them as soon as you can. Many landlords will only accept a limited number of applications, or offer a limited window to apply. Working with a real estate agent or property management company during this time can help you access listings as soon as they’re available.

2.) Be prepared to submit your application right away. If you can obtain the application before your home visit, fill it out right away and keep it with you so you can turn it in as soon as possible. If you’re at an open house and notice a lot of interest, don’t hesitate – if you’re interested, fill out an application immediately.

3.) Alert your landlord and employer that you’re looking. This will let them know that they may be contacted for financial and residential history checks. You may also need to go on month-to-month rent, if your landlord allows it.

4.) Have necessary money for deposits ready to go. Many rentals will require deposits up front. The information for required funds should be on the application, but if it isn’t, inquire with the landlord. Once you apply, make sure those funds are ready. You don’t want to lose a rental while getting your finances in order.

5.) Be prepared to compromise. No house is perfect. When you’re dealing with a highly competitive market where homes are being snatched up quickly, you can’t afford to waffle over minor things. Speak with your partner or family before you begin your search to determine your must-haves versus places where you can be flexible. Make sure every “must-have” is truly a must-have. This will streamline the process later.

This advice will likely help your search for the perfect new rental home. For any additional questions or assistance, contact a real estate agent or property manager!