Making a Good First Impression

Making a great first impression

“You only have one chance to make a good first impression”

There is always competition for the best rentals and it is worthwhile to make a great first impression. As a student, you may face discrimination due to negative stereotypes about student renters. It is up to you to demonstrate that you are the best applicant.

  • It starts with the phone call. Be polite, speak slowly, and be succinct with your questions. Since most people have very busy lives, you may reach a message machine. Do not get frustrated. It shows in your voice and can make a bad impression. Speak clearly; give your name and phone number at the beginning of the message, repeat it at the end, and leave a time that would be best to reach you. Be sure to record a friendly and professional outgoing message as your voice message. Check out our Making the Initial Phone Call page for more details.
  • Dress for the occasion. When you meet with a prospective landlord, you are potentially entering into a business relationship. Present a neat and clean appearance; consider dressing as you would for a job interview.
  • Be prepared. Bring a copy of your Rental Application Packet with you. It shows a potential landlord that you are responsible, motivated, and organized by presenting them with almost everything they need to know in one concise packet. If you plan to share the rental with housemates, make sure to include their information as well.
  • Keep your appointments and be on time. If you cannot make an appointment, call to reschedule or cancel as soon as you know. Everyone understands that emergencies arise, but no one likes to be stood up without an explanation or apology. This landlord or manager may also have other rentals of interest available.
  • Consider offering a co-signer. If you have no established credit history and/or insufficient income to support the rent, consider offering a willing and credit-worthy family member as a co-signer on your rental agreement. Co-signing is a serious legal responsibility for the signer, but it usually allays a landlord’s concerns about your financial dependability. Our Parental Letter of Guarantee form can help with this step.
  • Be prepared financially. Owners and managers typically ask for first month’s rent and a security deposit equal to 1½ -2 months rent in advance. Be prepared to pay the deposit and the first month’s rent when you sign the rental agreement. Always get a receipt for any financial transactions.