Stand above 95% of all other renters to get any apartment you want!

By Joshua Hines

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Life can be unfair, and sometimes the lesser man (or woman) wins. But not today.


Follow this proven plan to separate yourself from the other 95% of all renters (your competition)!

How can I stand above the competition you might ask? Hint: while your competition only turns in the completed paper application, you do something radically different.

Lets begin:

Do your homework!

-Make sure you can really afford the apartment. Your monthly income should be at least 3x the cost of rent. If your salary is 4x or 5x the rent, even better! Pull your credit report first to make sure you know what’s on it. If there are negative items, write a short summary for each one (“In 2008 I got laid off work and fell behind on bills, but have a great job now and am on a repayment plan for all of them”). Would you rather a landlord hear your story, or assume the worst!?

Example: If the rent is $2,000, you and your significant other’s (or roomates) income should be at least $6,000.

- Read the listing ad again. REALLY. Read between the lines to find a subtle clue about what the landlord is looking for.

Example sentence in the listing: “Large bright clean modern duplex on the 1700 block of Bolton St. 2 blocks from MICA. Just in time for the start of the academic year!!!”

Great corresponding sentence to include in your application pack: “I’m a fourth year student at MICA and also work 3 days a week at a local restaurant, so living this close would be incredible!”

There is nothing earth shattering here, but it builds a nice story for the landlord!


Build a “Renter Resume” about yourself

-To start, write a 3-4 sentence paragraph introduction about you and why you would be THE BEST TENANT they could ever want!

Example: “My name is Billy Smith and I am in search of a clean townhouse in a quiet location, that I can hopefully call home for a couple years. I am moving because I want to upgrade after getting a promotion in my department, at Johns Hopkins University. I have a small dog, enjoy playing sports a few nights a week, and often make dinner at home with my girlfriend. I keep my home very clean, always pay rent on time, and have provided references from my past two landlords.”

View more tips on renter introductions

-Organize your completed application in with everything the landlord has asked for plus more, without drowning them in paper! In addition to the contents I already mentioned above (current credit report with your explanations of any adverse items and a well written introduction), include copies of: two recent pay stubs (or a w-2 if you’re self-employed), your drivers license, and a recent bank statement. To really hit it out of the park, get a recommendation letter from a work supervisor and a previous landlord to include.


Make a great impression

When you meet the landlord or property manager in person, follow these tips to ensure that you make the best possible impression.

-Dress to impress, but don’t over do it.

-Reiterate your strong credentials that make you qualified to rent their property

-Bring your checkbook so you can put down a deposit and first months rent on the spot

-Bring your “Renter Resume” as described above


If you follow these tips, you are guaranteed to stand head and shoulders above 95% of all other renters on the market! Until of course, they hear the success stories and follow these steps themselves :-)


I would love to hear some success stories, or any questions in the comments below. Happy apartment hunting!