How do I "convince" someone that I'm the person they want to rent to?

I’ve been househunting recently, looking for a bigger place to rent. It’s all very frustrating, and the agents around here don’t seem all that eager to do anything, even when they tell me they’ve got five listings that match my needs, they fail to call back when they say they will, or sound completely disinterested in even trying to show me a place.

But, through one of the sites I registered at, I was notified of a brand new listing for a house that matched my criteria. I looked at the listing which sounded excellent, and asked them to send me photos - which were stunning. I was so impressed, I immediately made an appointment to go see the place last night. When I got there, she mentioned that I had been the first call she’d gotten that day. Knowing that I couldn’t have been the only person to have jumped at it, I asked her how many other people were interested… 10. 10 other people want this property.

And who can blame them? It has a 2 car garage, 2 carports, a gorgeous koi pond, a pool, a pool house, a patio with built in barbecue pit, a side yard (complete with “servant’s quarters”), a gigantic kitchen, a beautiful built in bar… All for less than I was paying my own mother in rent when I lived with her. It is absolutely perfect, and pretty close to my dream house.

So I asked her what would happen if a lot of people made serious offers, how would she choose? She said she’d figure that out when it came to it… So I checked the place out carefully (at the same time as a family of four who were giving me rather unhappy looks) and told her I am definitely interested in taking it.
She’s leasing out on behalf of her son, so she said she’d tell him about me and let me know what he says.

Gah. Family-of-four were also rather interested, so I am pretty sure I’ve got some competition going. So how do I win her favor?

(Please do not suggest a basket of mini muffins!)

Funny, “not-in-a-million-years” suggestions are also welcome :wink:

Don’t smoke, have no pets, have no children. Have a large cash deposit.

One of the biggest appeals of the property is that they proclaimed themselves to be smoker and pet friendly. So I doubt that would help (and the whole reason I’m looking for a new place is so that I can have pets).

Large cash deposit and maybe you can direct deposit the rent into their bank account directly every month.
A low cut blouse and some heels might also help. or not.

Good luck.

Get your current or past landlords to give you a “more than checking boxes on a form” reference. Maybe mention something about enjoying gardening and liking a place to look nice and all that?

Just curious…how much are they asking for? Sounds like it would cost a fortune to rent a place like that!

Well, this is South Africa, so it’s all relative. With current exchange rates, it’s a little less than 700 a month.

The price, by the way, is very good even for here, and the neighborhood is just wonderful. South Africa is notorious for its crime rates, and the serious threat of home invasions and carjackings. The house is wonderfully secure, and the neighborhood itself is seen as a safe one - kids playing in the streets, quiet roads, a huge piece of open bushland bordering it, excellent views. When I say its nearly my dream house, I mean it… It’s absolutely perfect. The koi pond is enormous, and has a small brick bridge leading to an island with a thatched umbrella… The pool is a “rock art” pool, meaning the faces all look like large rocks, with a waterfall feature.

I hate wanting a place so much, because I know I stand a good chance of being disappointed…

Tell them that you really like to enjoy the garden so would it be all right if you planted a few of your favourite fragrant/flowering plants.

Ask whether you can stock the koi pond to keep away any mosquitoes.

Sound interested in the place itself, let them know how much you intend to enjoy it.

Worked for my tenants.

No friends, no significant other, no one will be visiting you, no stereo, steady job, go to bed early worked to get me an apt. in the Bay Area years ago when 50 people had answered an ad.

As a landlord, I ask potential tenants to show me canceled rent checks for a certain period. You could do the same – get all your canceled checks for the previous year to show that you paid in full and on time. That’s a landlord’s major worry right there. People who pay on time typically don’t cause other problems.

Treat it like a job interview, or a date. Dress nicely. Have some references, etc.

Jeezus! Can you BUY it? I’d kill for a place like that.

That’s the good thing, and hopefully will count in my favor: the owner is interested in selling it and is hoping for a tenant who will either be able to maintain the property largely on their own (as opposed to midnight call outs because a fuse blew) or someone interested in potentially buying the property in the future. I told her that I was definitely interested in buying it in the future (selling price, just above 150k!) and am certainly not a high maintenance tenant (have never called my current landlord out for anything). I’m hoping she’ll keep those in mind, and possibly the fact that I was the first person to call her about it when she listed it.

To address some of the other suggestions here:

South Africa is heavy on the “debit order” system for bills - all of my bills are currently directly withdrawn from my acct on a set date and direct deposited into the creditor’s acct, my current rent included.

I did mention that because I do my work from home, having such a nice house with a beautiful garden was a definite priority from me. As I told her, if I have to spend the entire day at home, it needs to be a great place, and this one definitely is. I did also say that the garden and koi pond (which is already well stocked) were two of the bigger draws for me, as I love gardening.

The place does have one minor drawback - which I’m hoping will scare off other interested renters. There’s a flatlet attached to the garage, in which a single 32 year old man lives. His lease is about to expire, at which time they’ll either rent to someone else, or offer the place to the house’s tenants for a slight increase in rent. The flatlet is completely separate (and secured) from the main house, and the guy is apparently rarely home. So to me, this isn’t a big deal, especially since I’d be willing to pay a higher rent when he moves out to have the place for my own use.

I have emailed her to ask whether she would like a reference from my current landlord, but she’s out of the office today. My husband (who lives in Egypt) has said I should offer to pay a slightly higher rent to improve my chances, but I’m a little unsure of how they’d receive that. I don’t want to seem desperate… (even though I am desperate to get this place!)

I once got a lease without any kind of “signal payment”. The manager was surprised when she realized she hadn’t asked for one.

They had tile floors, you see. In Miami. A place where it can rain for 14 hours a day during 6 months a year but where people insist on Nylon-6,6 white carpet.

The stuff I’d mentioned I absolutely loved (tile floors) and the reasons I loved it (it’s so much cleaner than carpet) happened to be the same reasons the management had tile floors.

Since it’s a “private deal” and not an agent-with-her-nose-in-the-clouds (the kind who think part of their job is to make you feel like shit and run over your renter’s rights), I imagine that showing why it interests you would be good; if you are already thinking of how to beautify the garden and the things you mention you’d like to do aren’t so different from what’s already there, they know they’ll get the house back in good condition.

Echoing the large cash deposit idea from other Dopers, I’ve had a lot of luck with the following method:

(1) Show up, walk through house. Talk, try to be personable, try to appear like a good renter.

(2) Ask questions about rent, trash, utilities, neighbors, the neighborhood, etc.

(3) At the end of the tour, whip out checkbook.

(4) Say to the landlord, “Let me go ahead and write you a deposit! How much to hold the place?”

(5) Write the check for the amount the landlord tells you.

I suppose that in between steps (4) and (5) the landlord could waver/tell me that other people are interested, but you know what? It’s never happened. It’s the combination of being ready to write a check and asking the amount to write. People think they’re on a gameshow.

The Doctor

I think Dr. Who has it right.

I’d say something along the lines of: “Look - this is the right place for me, and I’m the right tenant for you.” You then whip out the checkbook as suggested.

Not many people will say (in effect) “No, stop - please don’t hand me the money I’m asking for.”

Did you get the house?

Still waiting to hear, amazingly enough, but signs aren’t looking good. They gave another couple until 1pm yesterday to pay the deposit; they managed to come up with only part of it. If they don’t come up with the rest today, then the house is likely ours. Must say, I’ve been very frustrated over the last week, though with all this waiting and wondering. It’s worse than waiting for a job interview!

In the meantime, I saw a house that runs a close second, its only drawback being that it doesn’t have a pool. My husband says if the first house doesn’t go through and I take the second house, he’ll buy me a jacuzzi, so maybe things aren’t so bad after all :wink:

WIll definitely update once I know for sure!

Did you consider offering a little more than was being asked?

Yeah, we were prepared to offer more, but getting in touch with the woman since the night I viewed the place has been nigh on impossible. If the couple currently slated for the place falls through, I’m pretty sure I’ll get it… But I’ve decided that if I don’t have a firm answer by this afternoon, I’m going to go ahead and take the other one. I’m supposed to be moving in two weeks, and need to start getting things arranged like phone and electricity transfers, etc., and I can’t do any of it until I know where I’m moving to.

The problem is, while the second house is indeed very, very nice, and very pretty, it just isn’t quite as perfect for me as the first one is… My standards weren’t all that high at first, but after seeing this place, it’s hard to settle for less :wink: