Thanks to the subprime mortgage crisis, more people have shifted from buying homes to renting apartments. This creates competition among renters, with the landlord having his pick from a stack of applications. Once you locate an apartment you'd like to rent, you need to sell yourself so that your name ends up on the top of the landlord's prospective tenant list.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Ways to sell yourself for an apartment interview include providing sufficient details on your application, locating some extra documents, cleaning up your social media, dressing appropriately, coming on time and being engaging.
Provide Details on the Application
The first thing you'll be asked to do is fill out the rental application. A landlord is going to look for someone who can follow instructions and fill out the application correctly. If there's any missing information, the landlord may dismiss the application and move on to the next renter.
Additionally, you'll want to include references who have known you for an extended period of time and can vouch for your personality. A good reference can go a long way.
Go Above and Beyond
When turning in the rental application, add a few other documents to set yourself above other applicants. Use a site like Credit Karma to obtain your free credit report and print it out for the landlord. You may also want to pay for a background check and print out that document. Even if the landlord wants to do her own independent credit and background checks, this shows the landlord that you are serious and you have nothing to hide.
Clean Up Your Social Media
Today's landlords have an additional tool to check up on prospective tenants, as social media accounts reveal a lot about a person. Do you post uplifting quotes, or do you have picture after picture of yourself holding an alcoholic beverage? Take some time to go through your accounts and clean them up if necessary. They should portray you as a responsible individual with a positive attitude.
Dress to Impress
While they shouldn't, first impressions do matter. Once you've been granted an interview, you need to carefully consider your outfit. Ripped jeans and a sweatshirt may be comfortable, but you'll most likely get the landlord's attention if you wear a dress shirt and pressed pants. A clean business look also demonstrates your willingness to put forth your best effort, which goes a long way with the interviewing landlord.
Show Up on Time
Whether you've made an appointment to pick up the rental application, or you have a date for an interview, it is essential that you show up on time. If you're late, the landlord may think you'll turn in your rent payments late. It also gives the indication that the landlord's time isn't valuable, which could land your rental application at the bottom of the pile.
Be Engaging and Friendly
Another way to impress a potential landlord is to be engaging. Don't simply give one-word answers during the interview. Try to expand on your answers and even ask a few questions of your own. The landlord is going to remember the interviewee who was friendly and held a conversation over the interviewee who was monotone and standoffish.
Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance. With more than 13 years of experience, her work has appeared in LendingTree, GoBankingRates, Sapling, Zacks and Pocket Sense.