If you find yourself constantly refreshing rental listings on Zillow while clutching your application materials at the ready, you may be one of the many people who are seeking a rental home in 2022. Over the past year, the rental market has become increasingly competitive, with housing in short supply and prices rising an average of 16.4%.
The good news? Zillow has several built-in features that can make the renting experience easier, faster and even cheaper, from searching for that perfect new home to signing the lease. Click on the links below to learn more about specific features, or scroll down for tips on how to increase the chance of landing the perfect rental.
1. Set a budget.
Use the affordability calculator to determine how much of your income you would be comfortable allocating to rent. Keep in mind that utilities and pet fees may be additional charges. Once you know your budget, you can browse rental market trends in areas where you may be interested in living.
Just type in a ZIP code for information on median rent prices, current available rentals and market temperature. Knowledge is power, and knowing the area could help you avoid overpaying for a rental; it can also provide insights into how hot the local rental market is.
2. Use tech to narrow down and speed up your search.
Filters can ensure you are seeing only those places that are right for your needs, saving you from wasting time sorting through listings that don’t fit. Zillow’s search filters include availability, price, home type, bed and bath preferences, specific pet requirements, in-unit laundry and several other amenity options.
Renters can also fill in details such as price and move-in date to avoid paying double rent.
Once your filters are on, take advantage of 3D tours and interactive layouts before ever stepping foot inside a property. These tools can be found when clicking into a property listing page. Navigate through the space either by using your finger on a mobile device or your cursor on a desktop. Interactive layouts let you see from which direction the image is taken, to give you a true sense of the space. If the rental works for you, you can schedule a tour or contact the property manager directly through Zillow.
3. Save money and time with a single application.
In 2021, 61% of all renters applied for two or more properties. Black and Latinx renters typically submit three applications and are almost twice as likely as white renters to submit five or more applications during their search. With a median rental application fee of $50, the cost and time spent filling out applications can add up quickly.
To avoid this, for a flat fee of $29, you can use Zillow Applications to apply online for an unlimited number of participating properties over a 30-day period. Zillow Applications are accepted directly through the app. Simply press “apply now” to submit your information to the property manager. After your first application fee, all subsequent Zillow applications within a 30-day period will be free.
4. Fill out your renter profile to help stand out to potential landlords.
Zillow’s Renter Profile tool can highlight the information landlords and property managers care about, and potentially expedite the process of getting you into a home.
The personal profile outlines renter qualifications, such as a personal bio, employment, self-reported income and credit score, as well as your desired move-in date and lease duration.
You can use Zillow’s Renter Hub to view pending applications, check tour requests and read messages directly from property managers. Those renters with landlords who are hub participants may also be able to sign their lease and pay their rent right on the hub.
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