The Rental Process


Step 1 - Research

The first step in your search for a new rental is the one that will lay the foundation for the rest of your search. If you do the right homework, ask great questions, and get to know the best people for the job at hand, your renting process will be smooth sailing.

If you're thinking of renting a new place, the first thing you'll want to do is conduct a personal Needs and Wants Analysis. What are things that I want in my new place and what are things that I need in my new place? Start with the things that you need, and round out that list with the things that you want.

How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathrooms do you need? How big of a place do you need? Do you need a garage?

Then, once you have your needs identified, move on to the things that you want. I want a detached, single-family home. I want a pool. I would like at least half an acre. And so on, and so on.

To help figure out exactly what you need and exactly what you want in a new rental, we've made a handy dandy Needs & Wants Analysis form for you to work on. Click here to download that form (it will open in a new window.)

After you've established your Needs and Wants Analysis, it is time to hit the world wide web to conduct a little bit of research on your own. Check out some rentals available for sale on Apartments.com, Realtor.com, HotPads, Zillow, Craigslist, and more. Explore some cool neighborhoods on the Hohman Homes Neighborhoods page. Look up school district information on Realtor.com and Homes.com. See what might and might not work for you using the things you know you will need and want.

Now comes the part where you use the right homework to get in touch with the best people to answer all of your renting questions.

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Step 2 - Show

After you've done your homework online about pricing, housing preferences, and service providers, you are ready for the fun stuff. You are now ready to go schedule some showings.

The best way to set up a showing is through your Hohman Homes Teammate. Real estate agents hold the keys - both literally and figuratively - to the places that you want to go see. They can also tell you certain details about the rental that you won't be able to find online or through any other service.

We recommend seeing anywhere from 4 to 8 different properties in a single showing period. The exact number depends on how far away the places are from each other. Expect to spend anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes at each, depending on how much you like that home. And always make sure to give your Hohman Homes Teammate a 24-hour heads up before going to see a place, just in case the landlord or property management of that place has any specific showing requests.

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Step 3 - Apply

You've done all your research, and you've seen all the places you want to go see and now you've fallen in love with the perfect rental. Now what? Now comes the part where having a Hohman Homes Teammate makes all the difference. Submitting your application is the most crucial step in securing your new place.

There are several different aspects to the application that the landlord and property manager will look at in details. Specifically, they will want to know your current income level - they want to make sure you can afford the rent. Then, they'll look at your previous rental history - did you make your payments on time? were you a noisy neighbor? did you ever get evicted? Then, the landlords will look at a background and credit check to make sure that you're a good person and not just some weirdo.

It will take about 1 - 3 business days for the landlord and/or property manager to get back with you once you fill out the application and pay your application fee. It is a hot market out there for rentals, so be prepared to fill out multiple applications on several different properties.

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Step 4 - Pay

While there can be several costs associated with buying a home, the costs associated with renting an apartment or townhouse are significantly less expensive. The typical costs you should expect to pay when renting a new place to live are application fees, HOA application fees, pet application fees, a security deposit, and the first and last month's rent.

Each property for rent will have a different cost structure associated with each application. For example, every rental property will require all adults over the age of 18 living in the rental to submit and pay for an application. If the landlord requires a pet application and deposit, you would pay for it at this time. If the rental is part of a homeowners association that requires all tenants to submit and pay for an application, this would also be done at this time.

Once the application documents have been submitted and paid for, and the landlord has selected you as the new tenant, you will be responsible for paying a security deposit (typically equal to one month's rent) and the first month's rent upon signing of the lease agreement. The security deposit amount may be higher or lower depending on the creditworthiness of the applicant. Also, some landlords may require 2 or 3 month's rent to be deposited upon lease execution.

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Step 5 - Move In

Congratulations!

You've done your homework as fas as what you're looking for in a new rental. You've seen all the best new apartments and homes for rent and decided on the right place for you. You've even filled out all of the required paperwork and documentation to get you ready to move into your new place.

And lucky for you, the landlord picked you to be their next tenant. Woohoo!

From here, it is time to fill out and agree to the lease agreement. This contract will dictate exactly the things you are responsible for as a tenant - like making monthly rental payments, handling some of your own maintenance requests, not hosting crazy parties or inviting your weird uncle to live with you for 7 months straight. It will also show what things the landlord is responsible to do for you too.

Be sure you know all of your rights as tenant by carefully reviewing Florida's Landlord Tenant Act.

Once your lease agreement is signed and ready to go you, you and your property manager - either together or separately - will complete a pre-move inspection to determine the condition of the rental before you moved in. If there's an issue with the rental before you move in, you'll want to make a note on your pre-move inspection form so the landlord knows that it wasn't you that caused the issue.

After the agreements have been signed, the payments have been made, the inspections have been completed, you are ready to enjoy your new rental!

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Step 6 - Move Out

So you've been living in your rental for nearly a year and you've decided that you're ready to buy your first home. Or maybe you got a new job and need to move out of state. Or, maybe you just want to move closer to your school so you don't have as long of a commute. For whatever reason, eventually you might consider moving out of your current rental.

As property managers, we get it. Sometimes it's just time to move on. Even though you were a great tenant who always paid the rent on time and never caused any maintenance issues, it can be time to move.

The move out process is pretty simple. At least 30 days - and sometimes 60 days depending on your lease agreement - you have to give written notice to your property manager that you're moving out. (An email or a text counts as written notification.) Once you move your stuff out of the rental, both you and the property manager - either separately or together - should complete a post-move inspection. This will determine if the landlord is entitled to use your security deposit to fix any issues with the unit after you move out.

Once all parties are satisfied with the move out inspection, we can start the process all over again and help you find your new place to live.

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