As the listing agent for a lot of rental homes in Austin (for over 20 years), I’ve been dealing lately with a lot of really angry, frustrated renters and agents.
The reason for the upset is primarily the renter losing a home to other (multiple) applicants who applied quicker and/or had their act more together. Then thinking it was unfair that they lost out.
I’ve dealt with some applicants who have lost out on 3 or 4 homes in a row and who have to be out of their current house in 1 week, and have nowhere to go. Understandably, in this tight rental market, that sucks. Big time.
But that’s the “landlord’s” rental market we have in Austin at present, so you better become more prepared and more competitive if you want to avoid this angst. This is no market for slug footed, unprepared renters who don’t take the rental home search process seriously. You have to bring your “A Game”, or you may experience great frustration.
This article is written to help those searching for a home to rent in Austin TX to avoid that unfortunate circumstance where you lose out on a home to those better prepared. It’s a step by step guide to help you become the most awesome rental applicant out there. So read this and you’ll be a step ahead of others. You will become the winner, not the loser, in this competitive Austin rental market, and hopefully find the house you want.
Determine Your Specific Move Date Window
This sounds like a no brainer, but it’s hard to believe how many renter prospects I talk to who can’t answer the simple questions “when do you need to move”. You need to know, with certainty, the soonest and latest dates you can start a new lease. The larger window of time you can create for yourself, the better.
I just did something for which I am, on one level, ashamed. I entered a sales listing into the Austin MLS that is not properly cleaned, prepared, staged or photographed. The yard isn’t groomed. The photos are crappy 4-year-old rental listing photos I took when I started managing the property for the owner. The tenants moved out Monday, and it’s now live in the Austin MLS in tenant “move-out dirty” condition.
Have I gone mad? Perhaps.
I called the owner today and simply said, “look, this may sound crazy, but I think we should go on the market right away, without delay, and not spend any of the $2,000-$3,000 budget I told you to be ready to spend on yard grooming, landscaping, repainting the interior, preventative maintenance, repairs, etc., because I have a feeling the house may just sell as-is really quickly without doing any of that”.
Then I confessed that this advice goes against every grain of professionalism I have. We always fully prepare our listings before placing on the market. I curse and ridicule listing agents who don’t. It’s an embarrassment to show an unprepared listing to buyers. Yet, I just entered one.
After clicking “submit”, a full 3 minutes elapsed before the first Realtor called to ask about it. 3 minutes.
The final outcome of this experiment will determine whether I’m smart or just overconfident. But let me put into context the events that led up to this decision.