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Guide to Leasing a Home
Guide to Leasing a Home
Guide to Leasing a Home



Leasing offers several benefits compared to purchasing.  For example, the process is much quicker, you don’t need a giant down payment, and good credit scores are not mandatory. 

1. We now use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to help clients lease their own properties and find homes available for lease.  As of April 1st, 2011 there are approximately 400 available residential homes for lease in Oakland County for less than $3,000/month 

2. The MLS has surpassed traditional methods (newspaper, Craig’s List) as the best resource to locate homes available for lease or rental.

3. Working with Haviland Real Estate also provides the added layer of professional protection that comes from working with an industry Broker. For example, some people on sites such as Craig’s list have been known to fraudulently lease out properties to tenants without disclosing that the home is facing foreclosure. This could leave you without a place to live when the bank reclaims the property.

4. There is little or no cost to you for the service.  In the majority of situations there isn’t any additional fee beyond a possible application fee (usually $25-$35 when applicable).  As a Broker, I work with other agents to negotiate what fees are paid through the MLS.



1. First, please discuss your needs with me, or one of the agents at Haviland Real Estate.


2. After we talk, I will set up a system to email you all the properties available for lease that meet your needs.  This list will include every property being marketed with every Real Estate company (Haviland Real Estate, Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ReMax, Etc.)


3. We will scan the market every day, and as new properties become available, you will be updated. The updates will be sent to your Email.


4. When you find one (or several) houses that fit your needs, please Email me the MLS #’s (located in the upper left-hand corner, beneath the picture) and I will provide you with access to the property.  You may also text or call me to schedule the appointment.  If you cannot easily identify the MLS#, an address will work just as well.



1. If the conditions are perfect, it is possible to move into your new place in a matter of days; Move-in dates are often flexible.

2. It’s a good idea to remember that you are NOT the only one looking to lease and the key to getting the place you want is to be prepared ahead of time.

Fill out lease application form

1. The application form is usually only 1 or 2 pages long, or sometimes it is a form filled out online.  An application will be is provided to you as an Email attachment.  The application is different than the actual lease.  In most cases, a lease is not drawn up until after your application has been accepted.

Obtain a credit report 

1. Good credit is not necessarily required.  This is Michigan, and the majority of applicants don’t have perfect or good credit.  However, the majority of lease applications will still require you to provide a simple (one agency) free credit report.  Easy instructions on how to quickly obtain your government mandated free report are provided below under SECTION 4.


Write a brief letter of explanation 

1. If you have great credit, you may decide to skip this step.  If you’ve been through a divorce, change in employment, change in income, let a house foreclose, went through a short-sale, or experienced any situation that influenced your credit, then write a brief letter to explain your situation and intent.  You might want to use this letter to explain any future intent of possible purchase, or your unique “Pet” situation.   


Submit your application, along with credit report and Letter of Explanation, to the property owner or management company

1. I can get the documents properly submitted to the proper parties once you have them complete.


If your application is accepted, a lease will be drawn up according to the terms of the application and letter you provide.


Move in 



1. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.

2. To order, visit, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You can print it from Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only, 1-877-322-8228, and Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

A Warning About “Imposter” Websites

1. Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law — Other websites that claim to offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring” are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program. In some cases, the “free” product comes with strings attached. For example, some sites sign you up for a supposedly “free” service that converts to one you have to pay for after a trial period. If you don’t cancel during the trial period, you may be unwittingly agreeing to let the company start charging fees to your credit card.

2. Some “imposter” sites use terms like “free report” in their names; others have URLs that purposely misspell in the hope that you will mistype the name of the official site. Some of these “imposter” sites direct you to other sites that try to sell you something or collect your personal information.

3. and the nationwide consumer reporting companies will not send you an email asking for your personal information. If you get an email, see a pop-up ad, or get a phone call from someone claiming to be from or any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message. It’s probably a scam. Forward any such email to the FTC at

Q: What information do I need to provide to get my free report?

A: You need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of your file, each nationwide consumer reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources.

Q: How long does it take to get my report after I order it?

A: If you request your report online at, you should be able to access it immediately.