How to Rent a Home in North Metro
You have decided to rent a house, townhouse,
or condo in the Atlanta area. And now you want to know what you need
to do to rent a home. Here is a simple 5 step by step guide to renting
1. Decide if you want to use a real
estate agent to help find a home to rent.
Finding homes to rent without an agent is
a lot of work. I often meet tenants who get frustrated looking
for homes to rent on their own. They come to me desperate for
A real estate agent can search for all the
rental homes listed on the MLS. Many of these homes can be found
on real estate websites online, but often the information is outdated,
if even by 24 hours. An agent will do all the work for you in
finding current homes listed for rent on the market.
The fees paid to the agent that finds you
a house originate from the landlord's pocket. So it doesn't cost
you anything to use an agent to find a house to rent. I have
some guidelines that I use with tenants:
services for finding rental homes.
You may be required to sign a Tenant
Brokerage Agreement with the agent. This insures the agent that
the time spent looking for a rental home for you will not be
wasted if you suddenly call another agent off a sign you drive by.
Your agent will expect you to be loyal and
call them first when you see a house you like. Signing the
Tenant Brokerage Agreement demonstrates your commitment to the
Sometimes your agent will require a
retainer fee to help cover the costs of gas and time driving
around to show you homes available for rent. This is a
non-refundable fee if you do not rent a house. The fee sometimes
may be refunded to you if you sign a rental agreement for a
house you like.
2. Tell your agent which homes you
like and go inside to take a look.
Your agent will spend the time calling
each of the landlord's representatives to verify availability of
the homes you like and make appointments for you to get inside
and take a look.
Sometimes the homes you like will not be
available in the time frame you want to move or they are no
longer available because the landlord just received an
application from a qualified tenant.
Your agent will map out the order to go
look at the homes you want to see. Meet up with your agent and
take a look inside each house.
3. Apply to rent the home you like
You will be required to fill out a rental
application for each adult planning to live in the home you want
to rent. Your signed application will normally give the landlord
permission to run a credit check and a background check.
The cost for applying varies. A few
landlords will not charge a rental application fee if you supply
a copy of your credit report. Most application fees range from
$25 to $75 per application. It's usually around $35. Some will
charge a reduced rate for married couples or families.
If the landlord has a professional
property management company processing the paperwork, it may
only take them a few hours to process your application. Some
landlords take 2 or 3 days to process an application. Your wait
to hear back if you are approved can cause you anxiety. At this
point you will
have to be patient.
4. Sign the lease / rental agreement.
Once your application is approved, you
must be prepared to sign the lease. The money you must pay at
the lease signing will vary depending on a number of factors,
such as move in date and if you have pets. In most cases, these
initial fees must be paid in certified funds such as a money
order or cashier's check.
The fees and costs when you sign the
rental agreement can be any or all of the following:
First Month's Rent
When you sign the lease, you will be
required to pay first month's rent in advance even if your
move-in date is 30 days away.
Pet Deposit / Pet Fee
If you have a pet, you will normally
be required to pay a refundable pet deposit or a
non-refundable pet fee. The amount will vary from one rental
to the next. I usually see pet fees ranging between $200 and
$350. I have seen it as high as $750. I have noticed that
the pet fee is not normally linked with the monthly rent in any way. The amount is whatever the landlord
In Georgia you should not pay the
Security Deposit until you get a signed move-in inspection
form from the landlord.
The security deposit is usually the
same amount as the first month's rent. Sometimes the deposit
is a different amount, but plan on it being the same as the
The security deposit is held by the
landlord until the end of your rental agreement and you move
out. It is fully refundable if you leave the property
undamaged. If damages to the property are discovered when
you move out, the landlord will deduct the costs from the
security deposit and refund the difference.
The move-in inspection normally will
take place the day before you move in or the day you move
in. In some cases, the tenant and landlord
may agree to do the move-in inspection much further in
advance of the actual move-in date.
Some landlords will insist on collecting the Security Deposit
at lease signing without the move-in inspection. I don't recommend this for my clients, but it
can be done as long as it is clearly written in the lease
agreement that the security deposit is being paid in advance
of the landlord providing the signed move-in inspection
"The bottom line
costs for getting into a home to rent is two times the monthly
rent plus a pet deposit."
5. Move in.
When the date of your move in arrives, be sure
to get a copy of the signed move-in inspection form. Move in and
enjoy your new home.
And please refer your family and friends
to the real estate agent who helped you find a place to rent!
Agent for Renting a Home in the
Are you looking for a real estate agent to
find a home to rent in North Metro Atlanta?
I can help you find homes for rent in Canton,
GA and surrounding areas of Cherokee County (Woodstock, Waleska,
Ball Ground, Holly Springs), Cobb Country (Marietta, Kennesaw
Smyrna, Vinings), North Fulton County (Milton, Roswell,
Alpharetta, Sandy Springs, Atlanta), Forsyth County (Cumming),
Gwinnett County (Norcross, Duluth), and Dekalb County (Dunwoody,