I would like to share some housing resources and information today. There are many available for both sides of the housing spectrum, whether you are seeking housing or trying to fill a rental. While the resources I am going to provide are not all that are available to you, they may give you a step up in your situation. Feel free to call or email me if you have questions or want to talk about any of this information.
Landlords – Often times I’ll get a question such as “Where can I find a good property management company?” or “Is there a good background checking service that you can recommend?” My first recommendation of course is to try the yellow pages of your local phone directory. I can tell you that there are some local property management companies that are a lot more approachable and helpful that I would highly recommend, especially if you are new to the landlord business or have a lot of questions. I have a few links on my FAQ page that you can check with to see if they are looking to add to their client base.
As far as companies that provide credit and background checks, I’m not sure there is a “local” service for this. I know there are several that I have seen on various housing listing sites that are national and I have seen fees anywhere from $15 to $45 depending on what you’re looking for. There are options for a basic credit check all the way up to a full background check with criminal, evictions, judgments, credit, housing and employment references. Most times you can pass the fee along to the potential renter as it is quite acceptable. I have seen in some cases where the landlord will refund the fee back, but only if they rent to the applicant after passing the background check. Win-Win for both.
There is also a local group of homeowner/landlords in the Walla Walla area that pool resources, share information and due to their membership are able to get background checks through the association. You can check with the WWRPA for more information, their fee to join, when their next meeting is and what resources they can provide you to assist you in your rental ventures. Leo Violette is the President of the Association and can be reached at 509-520-7432 9AM to 2PM weekdays.
Another source I highly recommend, especially with today’s economy and more and more people hitting the poverty level, is the Walla Walla Housing Authority. I suggest you check their website and find out information on accepting Section 8 Housing Vouchers. It is a great way to make sure you have a set amount of income on your rental each month. The criteria are not that stringent and most rentals qualify with little to no work at all.
Renters – The housing quest is always daunting and requires a huge amount of energy to tackle. Until Blue Mountain Rentals started up in April of 2011, there wasn’t even a consolidated data list of available rentals in the area. Even now, with me updating the leads daily, there are always new sources that I stumble across in my daily journeys. It is an ongoing, growing process, that I still feel is an invaluable starting point for those trying to find rentals in the Greater Walla Walla area.
One source that I would highly recommend to those just getting started on their housing search is your free annual credit report. This way, there are no surprises when you find the “perfect” new home and they run your background check. There is a link on my website. This will allow you to clear up any errors or discrepancies and not be shocked at rejection for something you were not even aware of.
When you are ready to start the actual search for what rentals are available of course start with the Free Rental Lead list on my website. Make sure you check the local newspaper. Most papers have online classifieds now to make the search a little easier. Craigslist although, there are scams on it and growing every day, is also one of the largest most visited and advertised sources of rentals for the Walla Walla area. Just make sure you can visit the rental in person and never wire transfer funds to anyone. There are many other sites out there that you can find by doing a generic google, yahoo or bing search as well.
Blue Mountain Rentals has a lot of resources at hand and I love talking with everyone in the housing mix. Whether you’re looking for a place or trying to get a vacancy filled, give me a shout out. If I have information that I can pass along to help you in your journey, I’ll gladly send it your way. Sometimes there is a small fee involved, because like you, I have mouths to feed and bills to pay.
Lori Hartjoy: I am the owner of Blue Mountain Rentals, which was established in April of 2011. I bring over 20 years of clerical experience to my clients. My background includes processing employment, tenant screening, background checks and working as a property manager. The information contained on this blog and from any communication related to the Blue Mountain Rentals website is provided for informational purposes only. All information you choose to use is at “your own risk”. Please visit http://www.bluemtnrentals.com for more information on how I can provide a win-win situation for you.
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