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Tips to Successfully Secure a Rental Property

Tips to Successfully Secure a Rental Property

Securing a rental property in a competitive market can be a challenging endeavor. Tenants often find themselves vying for the attention of landlords and property managers who are inundated with applications. To stand out from the crowd and increase the chances of getting your rental application approved, it is important to present yourself as the ideal candidate. Here are some strategies and tips that can help you achieve this goal.

1. Prepare Your Documentation

Having all necessary documentation ready before you apply is crucial. This includes your identification, rental history, and proof of income. By organizing these documents in advance, you demonstrate responsibility and preparedness, qualities that landlords value in a tenant. Waiting a few hours could make the difference between being approved for the home or not.

2. Showcase Financial Stability

Landlords want to ensure that tenants can consistently pay rent on time. Provide clear evidence of your financial stability, such as recent pay stubs, or bank statements if you are self employed. Many try to use tax returns from the previous year but that does not show that you are currently working. If your income is variable, consider offering to pay a larger deposit (up to 2 months rent in Virginia) or a few months' rent in advance to mitigate the landlord's risk.

3. Provide Solid References

References from previous landlords, property managers, or employers can be incredibly persuasive. These references should attest to your reliability, cleanliness, and timely rent payments. Inform your references in advance so they're prepared to respond promptly and positively on your behalf.

4. Offer Flexibility

Being flexible with move-in dates or lease terms can make your application more appealing to landlords. If you're able to accommodate the landlord's schedule or agree to a longer lease term, you might have a competitive edge over other applicants. The goal of the landlord or property manager is to have the shortest vacancy possible so they are not going to be interested in holding the unit for you.

5. Act Quickly and Follow Up

In a competitive market, time is of the essence. Submit your application as soon as possible after viewing a property. After submitting, a polite follow-up email or call can show your genuine interest in the property and remind the landlord of your application.

6. Demonstrate Good Communication Skills

Throughout the application process, be professional and courteous in all your communications. Clear and respectful communication can leave a positive impression on landlords and property managers, making them more inclined to consider you as a tenant.

7. Be Honest and Transparent

Honesty is key in your rental application. If there are potential concerns, such as a pet or a past financial difficulty, it's better to be upfront about them. Offering solutions or explanations can help mitigate these issues and build trust with the landlord.

8. Play by the Property Manager or Landlord's Rules If the property manager or landlord asks that you only communicate with them in writing which is becoming more and more common, it's best not to call. They are telling you how to communicate with them. If you don't follow those guidelines, they may view you as someone who is less likely to abide by the terms of the lease.


Getting your rental application approved in a competitive market requires preparation, professionalism, and a bit of strategy. By presenting yourself as a responsible, financially stable, and respectful candidate, you significantly increase your chances of securing your desired rental property. Remember, every interaction with a potential property manager or landlord is an opportunity to make a positive impression, so approach each step of the application process with care and consideration.