What Landlords Like!
Aside from wanting tenants to pay their rent on time, your future landlord is sizing you up from the very first phone call you make to apply for the apartment.
When you pick up the phone to call and make an inquiry about the the apartment, you are creating your first impression. Make sure you speak up, don't mumble and stumble over your words, speak clearly, and know the address of the property that you are calling about. Very often people call to ask about "the apartment". Being a property manager, I usually have more than one so I don't know which one they are calling about. Be specific.
Landlords want to know that you are working full time, have pay stubs to prove it and that you earn at least 3 times the amount of the rent. If you don't have these things, tell them what you do have to offer. Landlords also want to know how many people will be living in the apartment. If you have pets say so right up front! Why would you waste time inquiring about an apartment, if it's not pet friendly?!
In this day and age, the biggest asset you can have is good credit. My best advice is to bring your credit score up to a minimum of 650 if you are shopping for an apartment. A good track record of paying your bills is the fastest way to have your rental application approved. Many people will say that "I'm working on my credit", but all that counts when an application is being reviewed, is what the score is right there at that moment in time.
If the apartment sounds good and is affordable, tell the landlord what hours you work so he can offer you a showing time that coordinates with your work schedule. Many times I ask a prospective tenant when they would like to see an apartment and they say "anytime" only to find out they work 9-5 and can only view the apartment after 5.
Making a phone call to inquire about a possible future home should be important enough to you to want to make a good impression. Some people seem resentful and defensive when I ask them questions over the phone. I start to wonder why these prospective tenants find it hard to be truthful? I would hope they understand that when I ask questions it is because I care who I am renting to. Should they end up renting from me, I want them to have good neighbors living near them. I want my tenants to love where they live.