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Tips for your apartment hunt

Gary Malin, president of real estate broker Citi Habitats, tells us how to survive the renting market.<strong><br /></strong>

This summer is one of the roughest times for the real estate market — rentals are high in demand yet low in supply, making the search costly and frustrating. Gary Malin, president of real estate broker Citi Habitats, tells us how to survive the renting market.

Do your homework

“First and foremost, preparation is key to a successful search,” Malin says. “A lot of people don’t do enough homework, so when they get [to an apartment they like] they realize they’re missing a lot of paperwork and end up [losing out on the unit]. Typical documents needed to rent a home include your last two years of tax returns, two recent bank statements, two recent pay stubs and an employment verification letter that states your annual salary. If you are self-employed, then a letter from your accountant would be required along with tax returns. In addition, it helps to have a letter from your current landlord saying you pay your rent on time and are a good tenant.”

Know your non-negotiables

“It’s important to say to yourself, ‘What are the things that I absolutely can’t give up?’ Prices are pretty high, vacancies are low, and you’re probably going to have to make some sacrifices along the way. Maybe you’re going to get a studio instead of a one-bedroom. It’s good to ask yourself, ‘What are the items where if I can’t have it, it’s not like I’m not going to be able to proceed?’”

If you love it, take it

If you luck into an affordable Rittenhouse rental with great light and cute neighbors, move fast. “Sometimes apartments are rented in a matter of hours,” says Malin. “If you love the first apartment you see, put down an application.”

Be open to other areas

Want to live within walking distance of Passyunk??You and everyone else — which is why that cramped apartment will cost you. “Don’t get honed in on one area and one area only,”?says Malin. “You might find the ideal apartment [and] not your ideal location, but once you factor everything else in, you say to yourself, ‘You know what, I’m glad I took a look at this.’”

Timing is everything

“The ideal time to look for an apartment is within 30 days of your desired move-in date. For example, if you’re looking to move into your new home on Oct. 1, then you would begin the search in early September.”

 
 
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