I showed apartments in Chicago and neighboring suburbs for about 10 years. During that time I saw a lot of renters who totally shot themselves in the feet through lack of prior planning. In fact, they did it so often that I figured there must be some sort of sect of renters who really do not want to get approved for housing.
If you're one of those people who wants to totally blow your chance at getting the right apartment, you need to start early in the process. Based on my real life experience with renters, here's some steps you should be sure to take if you want to utterly fail at apartment hunting before you even arrive at a showing.
- When you book the appointment, make sure you do so on the same day you want to see it. Pitch a fit if the agent can't get you in. (Bonus points if you complain during the showing about how your own landlord has shown your current apartment without notice.)
- When booking, do not mention that you're already working exclusively with a tenant-side agent who will not be attending the showing with you, but will expect a commission.
- Do not bring your third roommate who will be paying 3/4 of the rent.
- Show the landlord that you've done your homework and know the neighborhood really well by texting 3-4 times en route about how you're "a little lost so sry."
- Start looking 3 or more months before you need to move. Landlord will certainly be willing to hold their vacant apartments for you for a quarter of a year.
- Don't check beforehand if the address you're viewing happens to be the current home of your psycho ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.
- Bring a whole pile of listings with you, preferably in a folder clearly printed with the logo of a different landlord or agency.
- Have a nice big meal beforehand so you can test the plumbing. Maybe sausage with sauerkraut, or something with lots of beans.
- Do not bring a photo ID, paystubs or any method of payment that you might need to complete an application.
- Bring a partially complete, coffee-stained, 3 year old copy of your credit report so you can claim you don't need a "background check".
- Crank up your car stereo as loud as it can go before you arrive. Doesn't matter what kind of music you're playing, as long as the bass can be felt through the ground over a block away.
- Arrive 30 minutes late, park within view of the agent, then spend 5 minutes putting on makeup in the rear view mirror.
- Smoke in the car en route and extinguish your final cigarette on the property. Bonus points if it's an illegal substance.
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