Brutally Honest Real Estate
What if apartment listings told you the "real" story: "Tight squeeze" instead of "cozy," "out-dated" instead of "original details." And before you trekked out to go look at a place, wouldn't it be nice to know that it's a sixth floor walk-up instead of "a few flights up?" There's the flip side too: wouldn't it be nice to admit you're unemployeed and broke? Just like Brutally Honest Dating, Rachael wants to see what happens when both renters and realtors tell the whole truth.
Horror moviemaker Jamie and credit-challenged Lindsay and Adam all agree that it was refreshing to be able to come out with the whole truth and nothing but. "In the past I've never told my landlord the real deal," says Jamie. "They wouldn't learn until after I'd moved in, when they'd hear the screaming at 2 a.m." Likewise, Adam and Lindsay were happy they didn't have to keep their credit history under wraps. "It was nice to finally be able to be honest and up front with an agent," says Lindsay.
Even realtor Francesca Marrone was thrilled with the brutal honesty. "It was a breath of fresh air," she says. "I try to be honest anyway, but we took it to that next level and I've never had clients that are as honest as these people are. It was all out in the open."
Though neither one of the couples got the 450-square foot apartment at $1625/month apartment, Francesca has some tips for how they -- and you -- can put your best foot forward.
For renters, if you don't have good credit, but you pay your rent on time and you're a good tenant, ask your current landlord to write you a letter of recommendation to attach with your rental application. "Your application may be given further consideration if you have a good tenant history," says Francesca.
"If you can afford it, tell the landlord you will pay several months rent in advance to help you secure the apartment," she suggests.
When you're looking at an apartment for the first time, Francesca advises making sure everything is working: "Flush the toilet, run the sinks and shower, turn on all the lights and even bring a little radio to test every power outlet to make sure they work."
"If you're moving with a roommate, bring a radio with you when you view the apartment and plug it into the bedroom outlet, then go stand in the hallway or the other room and make sure you can't hear too much of the noise or else that means the walls are thin and you'll have to be extra-careful with the noise factor," warns Francesca.
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