Should I Apply for a Rental Property Before Viewing it?

should i apply for a rental property before viewing it

With the nature of online property listings, busy work schedules, or relocation, applying to a rental property before viewing it may sound like a good idea. In many cases, due to competitive housing or personal deadlines, time is of the essence when it comes to finding the right rental property. As a professional Orlando property manager, I’ve witnessed the downfalls and negative effects of applying to a property prior to viewing it in person. 

Although applying to a property sight unseen can be tempting, I strongly advise against doing so. In today’s post, I’ll share my expert insight as to why you should not apply for a rental property before viewing it.

 

The Dangers of Applying for a Rental Property Before Viewing it

More often than not, the cons outweigh the pros of applying for a property before viewing it. One essential factor to keep in mind when searching for your new home is that not everything is always as it seems online.

 

Lack of Personal Assessment of the Property and Neighborhood

While online listings must adhere to specific Florida legal requirements, these requirements often exclude factors that can significantly influence your overall living experience.  

 

Some of the Florida rental property listing requirements include:

  • Accurate rental property information (location, size, amenities, rental terms)
  • Fair housing laws
  • Disclosure of material facts (material defects or issues that could affect its safety like mold, pests, or structural problems)
  • Security Deposits
  • Rent amount and terms
  • Availability and move-in date

 

Although these factors provide essential information, they don’t always convey the full picture of the home. For example, the online listing may show that a rental property is newly renovated, gorgeous, and the perfect size for you. However, the listing does not have to include details that can affect your living situation. 

Some examples are:

  • The home is situated near a noisy highway.
  • The home is next to a group of college students who throw parties every weekend.
  • The home is located on the same street as a lake that causes the street to flood whenever it rains. 

 

Risk of Dissatisfaction 

Applying to a home before viewing it poses the risk of dissatisfaction with the property, location, or amenities. We all know that a picture is not a perfect representation of the subject; pictures may make the home or certain features appear different than they really are. There is no way to get a completely authentic feel for the property unless you are there yourself. For example, rooms may appear bigger, staircases may appear wider, or outdoor areas may appear more spacious.

should i apply for a rental property before viewing it?

If you choose to apply for a property before seeing it, which I highly discourage, you must be aware of the risk of dissatisfaction. What you see online is not always what you get, and if you are seeking a surprise-free, safe, and comfortable living experience, touring the property before you apply is the way to go.

 

Potential Loss of Application Fee

Most rental properties in Orlando will require an application fee which is often a non-refundable fee paid upon applying. Florida law does not outline a specific fee amount, so landlords can charge the fee they feel suitable. Application fees typically cost anywhere between $25-$75. 

If you apply to a property before viewing it, you can potentially lose your application fee. If you view the property after applying and decide it is not the one for you, your application fee most likely will not be refunded. In that case, you will have to apply to a new property and spend an additional $25-$75 on another application.

 

Factors to Consider When Searching for an Orlando Rental Property 

When searching for your new home, there are numerous factors to consider when touring properties and determining whether or not they are the right fit for you. In addition to the house itself and amenities that may be available, factors like the state of the rental market and the Orlando property management company’s reputation can have a significant impact on your potential living experience.

 

Location

The location of your Orlando home is one of the most essential factors in ensuring the success of your rental experience. The Orlando Metropolitan area is both large and diverse, and your living experience can significantly vary depending on the specific Orlando neighborhood you choose. 

Orlando consists of a diverse range of areas including busy cities, suburban neighborhoods, and even more rural land. Safety is often a top priority of Orlando renters; evaluating the crime rate of your potential new neighborhood can save you some trouble and help ensure a safe living environment.

According to Neighborhood Scout, a crime rate evaluation system, the top 10 safest Orlando neighborhoods are as follows:

  1. University East
  2. Southchase
  3. Wedgefield
  4. Bithlo
  5. Waterford Chase East
  6. Storey Park
  7. Waterford Chase Village
  8. The Reserve at Wedgefield 
  9. LaVina
  10. Winderlakes / Westminster Landing


If your desired neighborhood is not on this list, don’t fret! There are over 100 neighborhoods in Orlando, many of which are safe and even gated with security. 

Although online crime rate data can assist in the safety evaluation, the property management company or listing agent does not have to report the safety of the neighborhood or surrounding areas of the property. Even if the internet says your potential rental home is located in a secure neighborhood, it is still important to check out the property for yourself to ensure your safety.

 

Rental Market and Pricing

As the Orlando rental market is constantly changing, evaluating the current state of the market will aid in the process of finding an accurately priced rental property. Educating yourself on typical rent prices in your area for properties of similar stature will help you narrow down those that are fairly priced. 

Photo Courtesy of Zumper
  • The average rent in Orlando, Florida currently stands at $1,995, although this varies depending on the neighborhood.

 

As a professional Orlando property manager, I know that navigating the rental market can be confusing as it is ever changing. One way to evaluate typical rent prices is to look at comparable properties in the area. For example, if you are looking at a newly upgraded 2-bedroom single-family home with a pool in Oviedo, see what other 2-bedroom single family homes with a pool are renting for in the area. If the property you are looking at is significantly higher than the comparable properties, it may be a sign that the property is not accurately priced. Click here to view rent comparables in Orlando, Florida.

 

Should I Rent a Home From a Property Management Company?

When searching for a rental property, take the time to research the company or the individual that posted the listing. Orlando has thousands of rental properties to choose from managed by individual owners, real estate agents, and property management companies. A lot of renters have the question of does it matter who you rent your property from? And the answer is absolutely. 

When you rent a property from someone, that person, or company, will become your landlord. You want to be sure you are renting from someone that is professional, experienced, reliable and honest. Keep in mind that signing a rental agreement is a legal contract—would you want to enter a legal contract with someone who doesn’t seem to know what they are doing? Probably not.

 

Renting From a Property Manager vs Real Estate Agent

Renting from an Orlando property manager, like The Listing Real Estate Management, will have a positive impact on your living experience. A property management company’s main focus is to operate and maintain their rental properties and keep tenants happy and safe. A property management company works day in and day out to ensure the smooth operation of their rental properties and respond promptly to any tenant inquiries.

Orlando real estate agents also have the ability to rent properties, however, it is not their sole focus. If a real estate agent is also acting as a landlord or property manager, their rental properties may be put on the backburner. A real estate agent’s main priority is to sell homes as this is where they make most of their income. You do not want to enter a living situation where your landlord may be unresponsive or delayed in taking action to solve maintenance issues or general inquiries. 

A professional property management company like ours has established relationships with a network of licensed and insured maintenance vendors. At The Listing, we carefully select vendors to work with; we work with the same vendors time and time again because we know they are trustworthy and reliable. We have perfected the art of rental property operations and ensure outstanding management to all of our tenants.

In addition, at The Listing, we have an excellent tenant benefits program that promotes a positive living environment. Our tenant benefits program gives our tenants easy access to manage their living experience online while receiving additional benefits throughout their tenancy. This program includes:

  • Online resident center
  • Utility connection concierge
  • HVAC/AC filter delivery
  • Renters insurance accessibility
  • After-hours live support
  • Pay rent online 24/7
  • Build positive credit
  • Digital move in and move out inspections
  • Late fee forgiveness
  • Free home buying assistance

 

It is of utmost importance to keep our tenants happy and safe! 

 

Should I View a Property Listed By a Property Management Company?

Whether you are renting from a reliable property manager or a real estate agent, it is still essential to view the property in person. At The Listing, we take pride in making sure our online listings are as accurate as possible. Our detailed descriptions, accurate pictures, and rental pricing gives the renter an realistic picture of what the property will be like.

However, we still strongly recommend our potential renters view the property before they apply. As many property managers have witnessed, those who apply before viewing sometimes end up pulling out their application and losing out on the application fee.

Rental property seekers should be aware of the qualifying criteria for rental property applications and ensure each aspect is met before paying a non-refundable application fee. 

At The Listing Real Estate Management, your boutique property manager, we manage a plethora of homes throughout the Orlando Metropolitan area. To view our active listings and to schedule a showing, click here. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our rental properties today! 

 

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The Listing Real Estate Management

Your Guide to a Successful Rental Experience.

We’ve helped thousands of Orlando and Central Florida landlords, rental owners, and real estate investors with successful rental management for 15+ years. Your investment is in good hands here at The Listing Real Estate Management.

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