Posted Feb 14, 2012

Spam-alert: How to communicate with potential landlords

Do you remember the days when apartment hunting meant driving around looking for “For Rent” signs in windows?

While it might feel easier now that you can send out a quick note to tons of landlords at once (from home, in your underpants), email brings its own etiquette quandaries.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to getting your messages read and responded to:

DO:

  • Call first: If there’s a number listed, it’s always better to get a real person on the phone than be one of hundreds of emails. But always follow up with email as well.
  • Get to the point: Start simple and say you’re interested in the apartment, when you can come see it, and give your contact information.
  • Ask questions: If you have deal breakers, like parking or laundry, ask about those.
  • Tell a few things about yourself: If you’re using the Renter’s Resume from LiveLovely, this is easy. You should let a potential landlord know that you’ve got a job, but it’s also good to give them something to remember you by to sort out from all the other applicants. Where you’re currently living, where you’re from, or why you’re interested in this particular rental or neighborhood — these are good ways to show the landlord that a reply will not go ignored.
  • Keep track of who you’ve emailed already: Nothing says “flakey” like getting the same form email multiple times for the same apartment. Favorites on LiveLovely are a great way to keep track of this.

DON’T:

  • Be vague: Don’t just send your phone number or “Is this still available?” Remember, this is a business transaction and property owners will want to see you’re treating it seriously and putting in effort.
  • Write a novel: A landlord doesn’t need to know what age you lost your first tooth. Keep it professional.
  • Overwhelm with too many questions: Whether the outlets are three-pronged or if the neighbors are into anything noisy…these are overkill for now.
  • Send emails for places you’re not interested in: Not only is it bad karma to make people spend time on you if you’re not interested, but it might also cause landlords to think there is too much interest in the rental and raise the price.
  • Stalk: One call or one email per day and that’s probably good enough. It’s easy to get crazy over the perfect apartment, but remember that leaving 15 voicemails is probably not going to net you your new home anyway.

Do you do anything special in your messages to landlords to stand out and make a strong first impression? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, or shoot us an email.

By: Abby Pontzer

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