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How long is too long to wait on “pulling the trigger” on an apartment that meets most of your needs in a busy market?

I once had a client who I was taking out to see apartments in Allston in the middle of July.  It was very hot, both market wise and temperature wise. My clients had recently lost out on a two bedroom apartment because the landlord had accepted another group.  I knew I was showing them a property that would go very fast but I was a relatively new and shy agent and didn’t want to come across as pushy, so I made the mistake of assuming they new this property would rent quickly as well .  Although my clients seemed to really like the property that I showed them, they decided to hold out for a fenced in yard for their dog.   In my head I was thinking this is the best property I’m going to show you, pull the trigger! but instead I kept my lips sealed, and when they called me back, that property was gone.  I sensed their disappointment and vowed to not that that happen again.

In a fast moving market, sometimes it’s difficult to gauge when you need to jump on an apartment that meets most of your needs versus holding out for all of your needs.

As we get into July and August, apartments go very fast.  We had a 3 day stretch last week where we rented 40 apartments in Allston and Brighton alone!  In this type of market, holding out for the perfect apartment can be equal parts frustrating and costly.  Sometimes a group or individual will lose out on multiple apartments before realizing this sense of urgency.  This urgency is accelerated by the fact that some less than savory agencies will tell you that “you better decide tonight or it will be gone” in March.  If anyone tells you that in March, they are a jerk.  In July and August, the necessity to act quickly is a reality.

Now if you are one of the unfortunate people who have lost out on an apartment, here are a few things you can do to best assure that this doesn’t happen again.

1.  Have your ducks in a row.  Ask your agent to hold on to your applications and to give you a copy of them.  This way you won’t have to start from scratch.

2.  Be ready to write a check on the spot.  A check that doesn’t need money to be transferred in order to clear.  That one day to clear can make the difference between acceptance and denial.

3. Have all of your co-signer forms, pay stubs, etc forms ready to go.  If you know that you’re going to need a co-signor, have mom or dads fax or email # handy so that you can do this in your agents office.  Sometime the first to get paperwork in is the group that gets the deal.

4. Put your pride aside.  I was once renting a house and I had 3 sets of applications on it.  When reviewing the applicants, there was a young couple who were just starting out.  Both had good jobs but they were new to their jobs.  They wrote a quick note about how this was their first apartment, how excited they were and a little about themselves.  The other applications were similar but the letter put the couple over the top.  It can’t hurt.

5. Don’t look back!  Once you’re accepted, it’s easy to second guess yourself, don’t.  Finding a good apartment in a fast moving market is a challenge and you’ve succeeded.  Have a beer and start thinking about which way the couch is going to go.

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