For the first time recent history, young professionals and 20-somethings are in the minority of those looking for rentals.
Since the foreclosure crisis a few years ago, they have found themselves pitted against people twice their age.
Tiffanie Banks is a young professional with a bright future and looking for a place to live. Lately, she says she's had a lot of trouble finding a rental that's available and in her price range.
"If you've had any financial hardship like I’ve had, it makes it twice as difficult," Banks said.
These days young professionals like Banks are running into some new competition: people between the ages of 55 and 69.
Realtor Ron Jones said many of them are former homeowners pushed into the rental market by a down economy.
“I see that a lot of the older generation is entering the rental market for reasons such as a foreclosure, bankruptcy. They're rebuilding their credit, maybe they're downsizing,” Jones said.
Raymond and Sherly Santoro were unexpectedly thrown into the market. Late last year they walked away from the home their children grew up in.
"It was a beautiful home, a lot of good memories,” Raymond Santoro said. “But it just didn't meet our needs anymore."
After months of searching rental properties on the Internet and visiting several, the couple found their match. They fell in love with a townhouse close to Palm Beach State College.
Homes like the Santoro’s are going quickly though; someone first beat the family to the punch. Luckily for them, that deal fell through.
“I think that we are a better fit," Sherly said. “It’s just a dorm room to them, and we're going to make it a home."
Jones says older renters may have the upper hand in making these deals but says younger buyers shouldn't give up, because at the end of the day, credit scores trump someone’s age.
Top 5 tips for securing a rental
1. Set your expectations. Know what you want going into the process. (how many bedrooms, location, etc.)
2. Get organized. Coordinate with a realtor to get your credit and background checks and income verification complete.
3. Be decisive. The homes that you are seeing today, are not going to be the homes on the market tomorrow. People lose rentals all the time because they want to sleep on it or wait.
4. Be prepared to offer more. Be prepared to give $25-$50 above asking price. If you offer $25 more per month, that could be the margin that sets you apart from another application.
5. Keep a good attitude. The process is long and the rental market is tough, so try to stay as positive as possible.