All Things Real Estate in N Oakland and Lapeer Counties

Leasing- From the Tenant Side

Leasing houses is becoming much more common these days and handling these transactions has become part of the job of real estate agents. In the past, most of us didn't handle lease transactions. The market was good and most investors just put an ad in the paper and found their own tenants. And to be honest, most Realtors felt their time was better spent working with buyers and sellers because the checks were much larger.

But to steal a line (I believe from Dylan)- The times they are a changing.

The majority of homes offered for lease today are NOT owned by investors. They are owned by regular homeowners who wanted to move without selling or had to move, and they can't sell for either what they owe or what they want to get for the house. They typically want to get the bulk of their monthly debt off their back, and right now the best way to do that is to lease it. And most of these homes are listed with a Realtor and offered for lease in the MLS just like homes for sale.

Right now there are a lot of good people going through crap times and have recently gone through a bankruptcy and/or foreclosure. Because property values have dropped so much these people couldn't sell their houses for what is owed and because of whatever circumstances can't afford to keep them. This is probably the largest pool of tenant clients we're encountering right now. So I decided to create this page in my site about leasing. Most of this new tenant pool have been homeowners, not renters, and don't quite know what is involved. They are also embarrassed about their circumstances. Guess what- YOU ARE NOT ALONE OR EVEN UNIQUE! And nobody is going to judge you.

The good news. Over the next 2-4 years (depending on which loan officer you talk to) you can rebuild your credit and again become a homeowner.

Below is my attempt to take you through the process so you know what to expect and what you will need (money) in order to rent a house in today's market. And for you who are going through a foreclosure I'm including some facts about when you actually HAVE to move out of your current home.

  • First the money needed to rent. Typically a landlord requires the first month's rent up front along with a security deposit equal to 1 1/2 months rent. Sometimes they require a cleaning deposit usually somewhere between $150 and $300- especially if you have pets. These funds need to be certified funds (or cashier's check).
  • You will need a credit report. Some landlords will take a credit report supplied by you. Some want to run their own credit report. They realize there's a good chance you don't have great credit. Most listing agents have prepared their clients for the fact that their tenant will probably have gone through a foreclosure and/or bankruptcy. They are looking for bad credit over a small period of time. They don't want to see a ten year history of poor credit. You can run your credit report for free at Don't pay the $10 for the credit score- it's not usually necessary. You will get free reports from 3 different agencies. Please save them individually as pdf files to make them easier to email. If you don't have the software to save the files you can get free software at and download the free version. The files will be smaller this way than having me scan them.
  • If you are still 4 months away from leasing- don't start looking now. These homeowners are not going to take their houses off the market for the next 4 months.

When you are ready to look, just contact me either on my cell phone- (248)736-6407 or via email at and let me know what you're looking for. I will send you everything that's in the MLS that suits your needs. Ideally you will drive past these homes to rule out the ones that won't serve your needs. Then we set an appointment to see everything that DOES suit your needs. We can usually knock these out in one day (or evening).

And this part IS NOT meant to sound nasty. But one difference between dealing with a buyer client and tenant client is the amount of time I am able to spend looking for houses. The truth is, I run a business and NEED to make a profit. I have my own bills to pay. This is my job. I just can't afford to make several trips (time and miles on the car) to show a tenant client houses. I need you to look over ALL the listings and pick out ALL that even look half interesting, and look at them ALL in one or two trips max.

What you can expect from me:

  • I will treat you just as seriously and work just as hard for you as I do my buyer clients
  • I will advise you if I feel a house is the right fit for you or if I feel the asking price is too high
  • When we meet to see the houses, I bring the full listing sheets as well as the listing history, and if the house is in Oakland County I attach an aerial with the property lines outlined in red
  • I negotiate on your behalf

Since this article is getting pretty long I will create separate pages about lease/options, land contracts and the foreclosure process and link them to this page.  

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Lease Application