Today I just wanted to share a quick tip for those of you who are looking for a house or apartment to rent in a red-hot real estate market. It’s worked for us many times over the years (I’ve even mentioned it before on the blog; see this post) and has helped us to find some absolutely amazing homes.
All you have to do is create a housing “resume” that you can email as a PDF to realtors and landlords when you make your initial contact. When they’re sifting through dozens of emails and applications, I promise that yours will stand out because it’s professional, polished, and gives them the information they need at hand to make a decision about your family.
Here’s the one we used to find our apartment in Stuttgart:
I created the document with English on one side and German on the other; while most Germans speak English it’s obviously a gesture of respect to communicate with them in their native language.
Since my own German is at a very basic level, I asked my friend Alexander (a.k.a. the CEO of Gentry Leather) to translate for me and he graciously agreed. I shared information that addresses what most landlords want to know–what kind of place we’re looking for and for how many years, that we have a stable income and can afford the rent, number/ages of our children and pets, and the fact that keeping a beautiful home is quite literally my job. I also talk about the fact that we have been landlords ourselves and understand that finding the right tenants is so important.
I know this seems so basic and easy, but most people don’t take the time to put a resume together. I have had dozens of realtors and landlords over the years tell me that this is what got us in the door, even with our pets included as part of our family “package.”
Here in Stuttgart, landlords can refuse to rent to you for any reason they want, and often have their pick of multiple applicants. Unlike many other families, we were fortunate enough to have several offers from landlords and were able to choose the one we liked best. Several immobiliens (realtors) liked our resume so much that they forwarded it to others who had listings that they thought we might want to see.
As you know, we decided on a beautiful apartment in Stuttgart Süd with a million-dollar view:
(See the video walk through of the apartment here if you missed it)
After viewing the apartment for the first time, the landlord invited us to visit with him over champagne. A family interview is part of the process over here and often they want to meet the children and pets, too, to be sure that they’re well-behaved. Champagne is not usually part of the interview, but one that I now think always should be!
During our visit, he mentioned how much he liked our brochure. He also extended an offer to us right then, which isn’t typical. We considered our offers for a few days but knew this was the one for us. I think the rainbow in the photo I snapped above is confirmation of that, don’t you?
Would this work if you were trying to buy a home in a hot market? Possibly. I think in that case your best bargaining chips are bringing a cash offer or a confirmed financing, a short escrow, or no contingencies, but there are certainly some people who want to sell their home to the right people. It’s worth a try!
Have you done something similar or do you have another recommendation for finding a great rental? Let me know if so, and thanks for stopping by.