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Tips for Finding a Rental in Colorado Springs

Posted by Sarah Steen on August 9, 2019
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Finding a rental in Colorado Springs can be a monumental task. Where do you begin? Where is the best place to search for a rental? What does it take to get that perfect rental? We’re here to help with some tips and pointers for finding a rental.

Click here to download our Colorado Springs Neighborhood Guide

The Colorado Springs real estate market has been in an uptrend for the past 9 years. Rental rates have increased as the home prices have gone up. When the market was still slow and home prices had not exceeded pre-recession levels, there was a low chance that home owners were thinking about selling. They were much more likely to rent their home out if they had to move.

Home owners started selling as soon Colorado Springs home values increased to a point where they would actually walk away with a nice chunk of money when they sold. If home owners were renting their homes out up until this point, it meant that the tenants’ lease was not renewed and they were forced to move. We have had several clients state exactly that as motivation to buy: they were sick and tired of being pushed around as a renter.

What if renting is the right thing to do for your current situation? For many, renting a home usually comes with a transition. It’s common practice for our clients relocating to Colorado Springs to rent first to get to know that city before buying a home in a neighborhood they love. Numerous renters are also in the middle of a job, life or financial transition and they choose to rent until the dust settles. What a smart move [pun intended]!

Related Reading:
Rent versus Buy Calculator
Colorado Springs Real Estate by the Numbers

Where do you find rentals in Colorado Springs?

Colorado Springs homes are sold via the the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). About 30% of all rentals are also listed on the MLS. Why only 30%? It usually comes down to money and the fact that the listing input can be a bit time consuming. REALTORS who represent the renter during the rental search will receive 10% of the first month’s rent once a rental is secured. This is too much for the listing real estate agent and ultimately the owner. It makes more financial sense for the listing agent to avoid the 10% fee by listing the rental through the property manager’s website or on any of the following online sites:

Don’t skip looking for apartment complexes with their own leasing offices. Not all of them actually advertise. A benefit is that you can get a feel for the complex and immediately know if it’s the right fit.

PRO TIP: Once you are in Colorado Springs, we highly recommend driving around to look for “For Rent” signs. It might seem somewhat aimless and random, but you’ll be surprised by how many home owners just place a sign in the yard and forgo listing their rental anywhere online. This is a great way to find a rental (and possibly find a better deal).

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Why Colorado Springs REALTORS rarely assist in helping clients find a rental

To be frank, it doesn’t make sense financially. REALTORS are only paid 10% of the first month’s rent. This means their takeaway can be as little as $60, and that’s not enough to cover all the expense and time involved with the showings.

This is a stark contrast to other states and how they handle rentals. I have heard that Texas REALTORS receive the equivalent of a full month’s rent as their fee. It makes much more sense for agents there to invest their energies in rental searches.

Many Colorado Springs real estate agents (including us) are willing to set you up with a rental alert and have listings emailed to you as soon as they become available.

Rental alerts are good to have because you’ll be able to move quickly on rentals as they become available. We recommend signing up for rental alerts with all websites that list rentals.

Click here to sign up for Colorado Springs Rental Alerts

How do you make an appointment to see a home?

We can provide you with rental listings, but you’ll need to call the property manager to arrange showings. Sometimes it can be difficult to reach property managers because they are busy. Property managers will often host open houses to show the home on a first come, first served basis. Either way, it is best is to call the owner/ property manager to find out how they handle the rental.

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Pets in Rentals

This is always a very hot topic in our Facebook groups. When I search for rentals that allow pets, the number of available rentals is reduced by approximately 50%. The rentals that allow cats is reduced by an additional 50%.

Pets can cause a great amount of damage whether it’s scratching or urine on the carpet. Our real estate agents see it all the time. Cat spray and urine is extremely difficult (and sometimes impossible) to clean. Many times, the cat damage can only be removed by actually replacing the carpet pad, carpet, and even drywall.

This can be a very frustrating aspect of trying to secure a rental if you are a responsible pet owner. Unfortunately, you are being lumped into the same category as the pet owners who allow extensive damage.

If pets are allowed, you will pay a refundable or non-refundable deposit fee for your animal(s).

What do you need to secure a rental?

1.  Good Credit Score:  Property managers have to assess your ability to pay rent. The only way they can determine that is through your credit score. Some landlords and property managers will not consider health debt in their calculations, but that varies.

2.  Steady Income: Owners and property managers will look at your monthly income. They usually want renters who are not spending more than 25-33% of their income on rent. That can be hard in Colorado Springs where income does not keep up with rent increases.

Related Reading: Is the Cost of Living in Colorado Springs High?

3.  Positive Rental History: Every property manager (and some landlords) will call your previous landlords and inquire about your conduct during your previous lease. Did you pay your rent on time? Did you leave the property in good condition? Your rental history is an important part of your application.

PRO TIP: Please note that every time you apply for a rental you will have to pay the application fee regardless of whether you get the home to rent or not. Real estate professionals will have an online application process.

Where do you want to live?

This can be a difficult question to answer if you are not familiar with Colorado Springs. You might have a preference about which school district or school you’d like your child to attend. Most people are also concerned about crime, which amenities are nearby, and potential commute times to work. The big deciding factor is usually how much the monthly rental rate is.

Download our Colorado Springs Neighborhood Guide
Tips for Researching a Neighborhood

1.  Which school is my student attending?

Of course, in Colorado Springs you are not tied to a specific school because Colorado is a Choice State. But you will likely be responsible for transportation of your student to and from school if you opt for something other than your neighborhood school.

Download our Colorado Springs Schools Guide

2.  What is the crime rate in a neighborhood?

Look up the street address of your potential rental at myneighborhoodupdate.net. This website will give you great insight about how much and what types of crime are happening in the surrounding area.

Related Reading: Is Colorado Springs Safe?

3. What’s the proximity to work?

Five years ago, I would have said that you can get anywhere in the Colorado Springs city limits within 30 minutes. Commuting times have become much longer than that depending on where you live and what time you are commuting. If at all possible, we recommend driving your route to work from your potential rental property at the time you’ll usually be commuting.

4.  What amenities are nearby?

If you’re hoping to have shopping, gyms, parks and recreation or entertainment close by, most likely you will look in a much different area then if you’re looking to be close to the mountains with lots of hiking trails and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

5.  What is your rent budget?

Finally, what amount have you budgeted for a monthly rent payment?  This will heavily influence where you want to look for a home. Of course, the bigger the house you need, the more it will cost. But smaller does not necessarily mean less expensive when it comes to certain neighborhoods.

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How much money does it take to secure a rental?

  • As previously mentioned, you’ll need to pay an application fee for each adult who is going to live in the property.
  • You will be required to pay the first month’s rent.
  • The deposit fee (usually equivalent of one month’s rent).
  • If you have pets, you’ll pay a pet deposit which can be refundable or non-refundable depending on the lease agreement.

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Common Lease Lengths

You will most likely have to sign a 12-month lease. There are some 6-month leases, and very few month-to-month leases.

Before you sign your lease agreement

1.  Make sure you know exactly how much notice you have to give to terminate the lease before it automatically renews. Highlight this important information in your paperwork!

2.  What happens if you miss terminating your lease? It is important to know if your agreement simply converts into a (much more expensive) month-to-month lease or automatically renews another 12-month lease with an automatic 10% rent increase. This information should be in your leasing agreement. If you can’t find it, have the leasing agent/property manager point it out to you in your paperwork. Highlight it!

3. Is your pet deposit refundable?

4. What is required of you upon vacating the property? Are you required to pay for a professional cleaner? A professional carpet cleaner?

5.  What will you be charged for regardless of the condition of the home?

After you sign your lease agreement

1. We recommend having a walk through with the property manager to look at all the damage and issues in your rental. Document it! Take pictures and make sure the property manager makes notes on everything. Ideally, you should email any photos of the damage to the manager for their records.

2. Document everything during your lease.

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When you’re ready to buy

The home buying process can be overwhelming, especially when you are a first-time buyer. We are a full-service real estate brokerage, and we’d be honored to help you get into your dream home. Listed below are some of our most popular resources to help you get started. Remember, we are just a phone call or email away: 719-321-0800/susanna@co-regroup.com

click here to download your Colorado Springs Neighborhoods Guide Download