The Rich Kids Guide to Leasing

Real Estate Agent with Rich Kids Real Estate: The Brokerage

leasing-pictureI get many requests to help friends with leases. Working with an agent on a lease is a win-win situation for you! I do the research, set the appointments, handle all the paperwork, and the landlord pays my fees! That being said, the property available to me in my MLS (multiple listing service - agents use this system to list and find properties for clients) tends to be on the higher end of things. I say that not to be off putting, but if your price range is $1800 or less per month, you will find much better inventory searching my all time favorite (and free) website: or the very popular Westside Rentals (the fee is roughly $60 for 6 weeks or so - check with them for exact details): Here are some quick tips to leasing

#1 - When You Like It, Take It

When you are purchasing a home, you want to really take your time to make sure that you are making the wisest investment for yourself. This is not the case with leases! I always advise my clients to take the first place that they really like. Leases can run the gamut and the hunt can be just as exhausting as home buying if you let it. Often times a client will take too much time thinking about a place only to have it snatched up when they've decided that they want to take it! Good leases are not always easy to find, so act quickly on the ones that are!

#2 - Good Credit, Fat Bank Account, or Helpful Parents - Your Call

Now more than ever, landlords want to make sure that their perspective tenants are well qualified to make their monthly lease payments. The easiest way for them to establish this is by checking your credit. A FICO (credit score) of 700+ will almost always ensure that you will have no problem renting a place. 650-700 is the gray area and everything below that will be a problem. Should your credit need a little work, another way to appease your landlord is to have proof that there are substantial funds in your bank accounts. Bank statements are easy to get and a great way to get around your credit score. Don't have 100K sitting in your savings account? Quite often my clients have their parents co-sign on the lease to assume responsibility should you default! Remember, your mistakes become their mistakes so make sure you (or they) can afford the monthly payments!

#3 - Security Deposit

On a typical lease, you will pay your first month's rent and a security deposit equal to 1 month's rent (example: $1500/month lease: $1500 for first month's rent + $1500 security deposit = $3000 total move in). However, when you get into higher end leases you will often pay a double security deposit (example: $3500/month lease: $3500 for first month's rent + $7000 security deposit = $10,500 total move in costs). You will get your security deposit back at the end of your lease minus any damages or cleaning fees.

#4 - Breaking Your Lease

If you break a lease, you can be liable for payment regardless of whether you are living there or not. By keeping an amicable relationship with your landlord, you are more likely going to get someone willing to work with you should you face financial hardships or need to terminate your lease early! To summarize - don't piss your landlords off!! Please see my post: Dealing with Shady Landlords for information of how to deal with sticky lessor/lessee relationships.