Renting in Miami can be difficult. An experienced rental agent helps tenants find the best rentals, in the shortest amount of time, and helps get tenants accepted!! Getting accepted, and getting the best lease terms... can be tricky. Working with an EXPERIENCED rental agent ensures greater success, could possibly save the tenant a ton of time and money, and will make the whole process stress-free.
In most real estate transactions in Florida, it's the landlord that pays the real estate agent to find their new tenants. Agents will work with tenants, showing them the rentals that fit their criteria (pets? price range? need a garage? etc). Agents will help in create their rental application package and submitting it to the landlord. IF the landlord accepts, it's the LANLDORD that pays the agent for their work.
*Some agents/agencies may charge a small fee to tenants (usually $50). This helps cover the cost of any background checks, and lets everyone know the tenant is serious. When you're serious about renting in Miami, that agent will work hard for you until you find your perfect rental and you have a signed lease!
Renting in Miami isn't a cheap. Decide what you can afford each month on
rent FIRST! Keep in mind your other monthly expenses like utilities
(electricity, water, internet, cable), food, transportation/car/insurance costs
etc. Realtors/Landlords look for tenants who will spend no more than 35% of
their monthly income on rent. This tells the landlord that the tenants are more
able to afford their obligations AND pay rent on time each month with little
risk. If your financial situation or income level isn't at the perfect 35% or less... working with an experienced rental agent will help. Renting in Miami CAN BE VERY COMPETITIVE! It's not unusual for the best rentals to get multiple rental offers within days of it hitting the market. An experienced real estate agent will know how to put a strong rental offer package together and increase your chances of getting accepted.
Narrow down what you want vs. what you need. Will your furniture fit in a condo? Do
you have pets and need a yard? Do you need a garage? Do you have to have a
swimming pool or a big yard for your boat? Renting in Miami can mean a tiny
condo, a luxury hi-rise, a small house with a huge yard, a townhouse with a
small yard. Miami has everything... narrow down what you NEED then WANT.
Miami is a HUGE place! Example: a cute 1300 square foot townhouse with a little fenced backyard in Homestead (southernmost end of Miami) can rent for as little as $1500 per month. That same size townhouse can be found in Cutler Bay (a little further north) for $1800 per month. That same size townhouse can rent for $2600 and more, in the South Miami/Coral Gables/Coconut Grove area. And on Miami Beach? Expect to pay more than $3000 per month!! The general rule of thumb about renting in Miami: the further away from Downtown Miami, the more affordable.
Miami is actually "Miami-Dade County", the overarching governing body of tons of small independent Cities, Villages & Towns. Most popular cities within Miami-Dade County include: , Miami Shores, North Miami Beach, City of Coral Gables, Town of Palmetto Bay, Town of Cutler Bay, of Pinecrest, City of South Miami, City of North Miami Beach, City of Homestead etc. Each one of these cities, and all of the unincorporated areas and neighborhoods of Miami-Dade County... vary in the type of rental property available, and the property values attached. For instance, Brickell is an area closest to Downtown Miami and the majority of rentals are condos. Rentals in Pinecrest are almost all 3+ larger, more expensive single family homes.
Want to rent a condo? Every building is very different! Luxury buildings offer amenities like pools, spas, restaurants, concierge service, fitness centers, more. Other buildings may not offer any of those things, but will offer inexpensive rent as a result. Decide how much luxury you're looking for, to help narrow down your favorite buildings! Brickell, Downtown Miami, Midtown Miami and Miami Beach are home to the most popular hi-rises in Miami.
Once you've determined the above steps 1 & 2... you'll be able to narrow down your top three neighborhoods or buildings.
The Miami rental market is very different than sales. It is extremely fast-paced and the best deals/rentals rent the quickest! Begin your rental search as far in advance as you want, but seriously go out and look with the intention of finding your perfect new home and putting in your offer ONE MONTH prior to your anticipated move-in date.
Landlords generally won't accept offers for more than one month out (they don't want a vacancy for that long, and know they can find a tenant to move in quicker!). Make sure your timing keeps in consideration that almost all condos and many townhouse communities require prior association approval- and screening takes from 2-4 weeks depending on the company and association.
An experienced Realtor will be able to get you on the right timetable so that
everything gets done when it needs to!
When you're at this step in the renting in Miami process, you're serious. When you're serious... it's time to gather up all of your documentation and have copies of everything you need READY TO GO. Why? The best rentals in Miami rent quick. When you find the rental(s) you want, you need to be ready to submit your rental offer package. Gather these documents, make copies and make sure you keep a set (of the copies, not the originals) handy!
You can start working on it by downloading a generic rental property application form here. Most likely a rental in a condo community will require a different version of this form... but most questions are the same. Save yourself some time, and fill this version out! It may take you a little while to gather the employment dates and reference contact information you'll be asked for. It's best to have all of this information ready to go!
Free credit reports that don't affect your scores can be easily and instantly received online via www.annualcreditreport.com. But we recommend paying the small extra fee to get your credit score. If you have good to great credit, you'll want to share that with a potential landlord.
If you know your credit score is bad... getting the score is up to you. BUT we recommend preparing a short explanation to the bad credit (a paragraph or so) to accompany your credit report. While accounts in collections and charge-offs can be difficult to explain, bad credit due to a foreclosure or short sale, or medical bills can be easily explained. And most landlords will understand those issues.
Also, be aware that many condo associations require a minimum credit score of 650. So it's a good idea to know what your credit score is!
Most recent pay stubs
Make copies of your last 2-3 pay stubs. This will help verify your income and employment to your potential landlord. If you get paid with 1099s or a W-2, you can submit your most recent bank statement showing these deposits instead. Most important is to have documentation that proves your income.
A letter from your current landlord, especially if you've been renting in Miami already, can help a lot. Especially if that landlord/reference is willing to put in writing that you were an excellent tenant, paid your rent on time every month and kept the property looking great. Reference letters are a great thing especially if you have bad credit or your income isn't steady or easily verifiable. Maybe you're self-employed? Get a client or business partner to write a reference letter for you. Make sure they put their full name and a phone number and email, and are willing to be contacted.
Your Realtor will narrow down your possibilities based on the results of Steps 1 through 3. Ask them to forward the prospective properties to you directly from the MLS (don't use realtor.com or trulia etc - the information is days old and chances are the rentals you like most already have offers on them!). Look at the photos, price and security deposit etc and decide which ones you want to look at seriously. Ask your Realtor to make appointments to see your top picks.
Of the properties you view, pick your top THREE. Don't pick just one- if your offer doesn't get accepted, you'll need to move quickly to put an offer in on another place!!
SUBMITTING OFFERS: Your Realtor will help you submit your best offer. Together you'll determine (and write down): - How much you are offering to pay in rent (sometimes negotiable from asking price) - When you want to move in - Amount of security deposit you are able to afford. Remember... renting in Miami can be competitive! You want to use the best real estate agent if you want to rent in a very popular area or building. Inexperienced agents won't know how to get your rental offer to the top of the pile and WIN!
Expect a decision within 1-2 days from the time the Rental Offer Package is
submitted (package will include your Lease Offer, Credit Report and a Tenant
Application with any reference or landlord letters, etc.
If accepted, your Landlord will sign and return with your new lease. You'll need both documents (offer and lease) signed by the owner. If an association approval is needed, you'll need to fill out the building/community's Rental Application and submit that with the other documents for approval. The fees will range from $50 - $150 to apply, per adult listed on the lease. Your Realtor will help you through all of this. Be available during the approval process... sometimes they will require you to meet with a Board member prior to moving in.
WAIT FOR APPROVAL from 2-4 weeks. Make sure you have your move-in money ready. You'll need to pay your first month's rent and deposits with cashier's checks or money orders.
MOVING... if a condo, make sure you call to reserve the elevator when you plan to move (day and time) and keep in mind they may require a deposit for the use of the elevator.
Any questions? Don't hesitate to ask! Renting in Miami is a different is a
different experience for everyone. The above information is a representation of
the majority of rentals in Miami but by no means does it cover everything!!
Live in Miami, or looking to Move to Miami?
Why not hire your own licensed, experienced rental agent?
It's free!! We know the best rentals, and how to put together the best rental applications!
We'll walk you through
the application process, get you the best deals,
and make sure your move-in goes as smoothly as possible!
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