Getting the Rental!

It’s Spring Time! The grass is growing again, flowers are starting to bloom, and leaves are coming back to the trees. There’s another way I can tell it’s Spring time – people are getting serious about moving again! Here in the DMV area, people start planning months in advance for their moves. We’re already seeing some fierce competition for rental houses in Rockville, Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, Hyattsville and the surrounding areas. Here in the DMV area, we have quite a few Foreign Service Officers, State Department and military members moving in and out every Spring/Summer. We already have a strain on our housing – rental property availability is a fraction of what it was 4 years ago.

This means several applicants have been vying for the properties we manage. We’ve had some happy winners, yet we’ve also had to turn quite a few applicants away.

I’m going to give you some tips to make sure you get a leg up on the competition when it comes to applying for a rental property.

  1. Do NOT take your time! We had an applicant who started an application on a Friday afternoon, and waited until Sunday night to finish the application, and pay their application fees. In the meantime, an applicant viewed the property on Saturday, put in a complete application and paid for it Saturday evening. Guess who got the property? When someone doesn’t pay their application fee, we have to assume they’re not serious about the property, or they’ve changed their mind. We can’t chase potential applicants down each time to figure out what’s going on – if we did that, we’d be working 80 hour weeks! We have an obligation to our owners to go with the first qualified tenant, and to get the property rented as soon as possible.
  2. Please read ALL the directions on the application! Applications are not considered complete until they are paid for, and all the documents we’ve asked for are attached. For example, we ask for 2 months’ worth of pay stubs and a copy of your government issued identity card. If we get an application that has none of these things, then it really isn’t complete. We’ll call you or email you asking you to get these things done, but we’ll also move on to the next applicant, and if they qualify before you get all your things done, we’ll offer them the rental.
  3. Have ALL your documents ready to go ahead of time! If you’re serious about the rental property, you should have your bank statements, paystubs, references, landlord’s name and numbers all ready to go. If you’re self-employed, have 2 years’ worth of tax returns.
  4. We ask all our applicants to go through a process with We ask this even if you don’t have a pet. You’d be surprised how many people don’t consider their hamster, snake, etc. to be classified as a “pet”. The great thing is, if you don’t have a pet, then the screening is free.
  5. Be truthful! We’ve had to deny applications based on the truthfulness of the application. We’ve had people say there were only 2 family members moving into a property, only to have their adult children call to ask when they can pick up the keys – and they were not on the application. Or an applicant who grossly misstated how much income they receive…
  6. Don’t be afraid to email or call the property management company to ask questions about the application process! We are always happy to help.