Posted on December 8, 2017
#application #product update 

Renting a place abroad and that too for the first time can be tough. Being a student, you are already burdened by VISA formalities and anxiousness. It gets even tougher, when you are applying to landlord-owned properties which has a long and tedious process. To make applying to these properties simpler and much faster, we at AmberStudent are introducing an exciting way you can improve your application — By just uploading a selfie-video!

House Hunting in Big Cities

Students, specifically International students who are moving abroad for higher studies, mostly pre-book their place 2–3 weeks+ before arriving. Searching for a place starts by browsing online listing websites and contacting brokers/agents of that area (not if you are using :P). The type of accommodations you’ll find, differs a lot depending on the city you’re going to. For instance,

  • Dallas has lots of apartment communities, having 100+, 1-3 Bed apartment units in each community.
  • London and most major cities in UK, have a huge supply of Private halls which are specifically catered to students, having 500+ beds each. Here you can book private and shared rooms, instead of renting an entire apartment.
  • In Chicago, there’s a mix of apartment communities and individual landlord-owned properties.
  • In Boston and New York you’ll find more of individual landlord-owned properties.

The process of application also varies a lot too! For Private Halls and Apartment Communities, it’s pretty straight forward. As these are purposely built for students, they would in most cases accept your application, provided you have submitted the required documents:

  • Verification docs — VISA, Passport, University Admit.
  • Financials docs — Bank statement, Loan details (if required)

and given the payment for security deposit and first months rent (in some cases).

The problem arises in booking individual landlord-owned properties. For these you have to either get in touch directly with the landlord, or indirectly through a broker/agent.

Information available for these properties, either mentioned on the website or provided by the broker can be minimal and inadequate. Requesting for additional details is a hassle, as landlords are themselves busy, and being in a different time-zone and language barrier, it can become difficult to communicate and get a response. In some cases you may not get these details at all!

Once you have reviewed the details and want to proceed with booking, you need to start filling a lengthy application form along with an equally long list of documents, which includes financial background, past employment information, references etc. After submitting the application with the extensive set of documents, it may take good amount of time to get a reply. This gets worsened in cities where there is huge demand/lack of supply, as landlords have to review significantly more applications.

What landlord look out for in a tenant?

Landlords are skeptical of giving their property, particularly to international students, unless they have reviewed their profile thoroughly. Their reason is justified, as there are cases, where students make unethical use of the property, by violating the terms of the agreement. This may include accommodating additional boarders (to save costs), damaging/dirtying the place, or delaying/failing to pay the rent. Also, credit score isn’t available for students in most cases, which is a strong indicator of financials.

Apart from qualifying for the basic requirements to avoid above issues, landlords look for tenants whom they can trust, before letting out their property.

How can a Video help?

Even if you have provided all the documents, it can be hard to get accepted, and that too without being physically present at the location. To make your application stand out, and to build an additional layer of trust, a video giving a small introduction about yourself and your background info can go a long way. The landlord will believe in you more, if he hears from YOU. By submitting the video along with your application, you aren’t just increasing your chance of acceptance, but also making the process faster, saving time for both the parties. The other advantage is that, you just need to record the video once and can send the same video along all your multiple applications.

How should I make the video?

Start with introducing yourself and the university you are joining. Then you can mention the time duration you are looking to lease, other specifics like drinking, smoking, pets, vehicle parking etc. Just go through the following points about making the video:

  • Record it in your home using your phone.
  • Ensure it’s not noisy and you are clearly audible.
  • Make it short, less than a minute.
  • Don’t spend time editing it or adding effects.
  • Explain clearly and be confident!
  • End with a smile. It will give a positive impression.

Here goes an example video:

If you are booking as a group, it would create a good impact if you can introduce yourself as a group. Check out this example video:

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 11.51.13 AM

Once you have made the video, upload it on youtube (as unlisted) and provide the link in your AmberStuent profile page, and you are all set. For any questions do reach out to us. We will be happy to help :)

Best of Luck!

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