How to Lease a Home in Texas
The Standard for Leasing a home in Texas might be a little bit different than in other states. There are a few things before you start looking at homes that you should be aware of and get ready to provide. Everyone who will be living in the home that is over the age of 18 will need to provide the items listed below. They will also need to be on the lease. This includes children still living at home that have turned 18 years of age.
You want to pull your credit report and provide it to your Real Estate agent. Most landlords will pull a history from all bureau’s, but you can sometimes save money from the credit application fees by, pulling your own credit. This can create a more thorough file when your agent presents it to the Landlord. It can also help the landlord be able to determine if they are willing to tentatively accept your application before you send money for their application fee. It also helps give you leverage when the house you are trying to lease has multiple applications. You can pull your credit report and scores here.
After pulling your credit, if you see that you have derogatory items, then it’s helpful to address them now in a letter of explanation. This includes things like bankruptcy, foreclosure, judgments, and slow-pays. landlords want to know that if they choose you to Lease their home you would be a good fit, will be a reliable tenant and a good experience for them as landlords.
Proof of Income
You will also need to prove your income. As a good rule of thumb, most landlords require at least 3X the amount of income as the monthly rent in order to qualify for a house. For Example, if the Rent is $2,000.00 per month, then you need to provide proof that you make at least $6,000.00 per month. Some landlords look at Net Income, but in my experience, most ask for gross income. This means before you start looking at houses and to have the most successful outcome, your Real Estate agent needs to have on file a copy of:
- Bank Statement
- Pay Stubs
- or Tax Returns
Usually, you will only need to provide one of these items, but some landlords will ask for all three. Basically, if you say you make a certain amount of money, you have to prove it with one of these items. If you are self-employed, they might also ask for a profit and loss statement, but will usually ask for the bank statement to back up the profit and loss. If you have a brand new job or are just moving to the area, then they will want an Employment award letter preferably on letterhead. Plan on also providing a Bank Statements or a tax returns to accompany the letter. Not all landlords require so much documentation, but it is important to have these items ready if they do need to require them. Time is of the essence when getting approved especially when there are multiple applications. So, providing the necessary information upfront ensures a more successful outcome for you and your family.
Provide a copy of your Drivers License. Make sure that if you are providing the copies for your Agent that you send a copy front and back of your License. You will also need to provide a copy of anyone over 18 years of age who will be living in the house. If you do not have a drivers License, then a state form of ID is o.k. to provide also. I have also seen passports used as Identification.
Forms to fill out
There are a few forms your Agent will provide and ask you to fill out when getting ready to look at homes. These forms are necessary for the file. They are:
- IABS- Information about Brokerage Services
- Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement
- Tenant Application
Present your Application
Once you find the house you would like to Lease, your application package is presented. If the landlord likes what they see, the landlord will tentatively approve your application. they will then ask for your application fee. Application fees vary in price. I have seen anything from $30.00 per applicant up to $100.00 per applicant.
If they do require an application fee, then they will be running a full credit report and Background Check. A background check will reveal things about you that include housing history and felonies. Even though the application asks specific questions like, have you ever been evicted, or have you ever committed a felony, they still want proof or backup documentation. A background check does this. So, make sure when you fill out your application that you are very honest about these things. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time and application money on a file that you might not get if they find information on you that isn’t accurate.
Your Lease Approval
When a landlord likes what they see and thinks you are a good candidate, The landlord’s Agent will make a call to your agent, and the landlords representative will create your lease. You will generally have 48 hours to provide a cashiers check to the landlord for the deposit. This secures the house for you and your family. In Texas, deposits are generally equal to the amount of monthly rent. You will pay for the first full month’s rent just before you move into the home, regardless of the day you move in. Rent is prorated the 2nd month you move in for the previous month.
If you go look at houses to lease before providing the proper forms and documents then you risk not getting a house that would work really well for you and your family when others are also trying for the same house. By following this formula above, you will ensure a smoother leasing experience and transition into your new home.