Last Updated on July 22, 2022

When it comes to getting the rental you want, there’s one rule that’s just more important than all the others.  

You MUST be first.

First to inquire.  First to apply.  First to put down a deposit when the application is approved.

What are the odds of being one of the first to get an apartment?

Here’s the magic of being first: if you’re the first to see a place, you have about a 50% chance of getting it, provided you move quickly at each step from there on.  

50% may not sound ideal, but compared to what comes later, those are amazing odds.

Dwellsy estimates that if you’re the fifth person to see a place, your chances of getting that place are below 6%.  If you’re the 20th, you have about a 0% chance of getting the place. 

That’s right, your odds of getting the place drop by 10X – from 50% to 5% – just by being 5th vs. 1st.  And, the difference between 1st and 5th is sometimes just a few minutes.  

Why is it so important to be the first to submit a rental application?

Many renters hear “application” and begin to think of rentals as college applications or other kinds of processes where applications are received and the “best” candidate is picked.

Perhaps it used to be that way in the U.S., but over time, a body of law called Fair Housing has been established to protect us all from bias in the rental search. The law states that for a landlord to avoid the risk of picking a renter for any reason that would be in violation of Fair Housing laws, one of the safest things they can do is process everything they receive in the order it was received.  As a result, landlords mostly respond to inquiries in the order they were received.

Then, they submit applications in the order they’re received.  Usually, they only accept applications from two people.  

Then, they sign leases with the first approved renter who gives them a deposit.  

Is it hard to find a rental apartment everywhere?

It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking to rent a single-family home, a unique condo, or a unit in a small building – it is, which is why being first is the whole ballgame.  

Landlords can receive up to 50 inquiries about a property the first day they are listed.  And, these landlords don’t have time to call or email 50 people back.

Most rental searches are highly competitive–approximately 85% of renters are conducting competitive searches.  These are some examples of the most competitive searches:

  1. Unique apartments or condos –  Like single-family homes, each of these places are unique and they can be very hard to find.  This is about 40% of rentals in the U.S.
  2. Single-family rentals – Each single-family home is unique and each renter’s needs for that home are unique, making virtually all single-family homes move quickly and be in demand.  This is about one-third of rental properties in the U.S.
  3. Specific cities, towns, or neighborhoods – Cities like New York and San Francisco are famously competitive, but so are specific neighborhoods in cities that are not as competitive.  If you’re searching in one of these places, know that you need to be aggressive and first wherever possible. 

How do I increase my chances of being the first to see an apartment?

Understanding the importance of renters being the first to inquire about a home, we built Dwellsy Edge, a platform created to give you the power and upper hand in the rental market.  

Dwellsy Edge sends automated and instantaneous text message alerts for the properties that best meet your criteria the second it’s available on Dwellsy. The Dwellsy website has the most extensive rental listings among all rental sites, so you are guaranteed to have access and opportunities not available on other rental sites.

Once you receive the automated message about your dream home, submit an application then rest assured knowing the landlord will see your application way before other applicants!

Sign up for Dwellsy Edge today to get an edge over the competition and find your next home FAST!

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