The Short List: Diana Pittro’s Tips for Helping Your Client Find a Family-Friendly Rental

by Peter Thomas Ricci

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Diana Pittro is the executive vice president of RMK Management Corp.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Diana Pittro, the executive vice president of RMK Management Corp., for her tips on helping clients find a family-friendly rental.

In this competitive, fast-paced rental market we are experiencing right now, helping your client find the right rental home can be challenging enough. And if your client is looking for a family-friendly rental, that task becomes even more daunting.

As the Chicago area’s largest market-rate apartment management firm, we often work with families who are relocating, just sold their home or are experiencing other changes to their life that mean they need a rental home – and quickly! Below are six tricks of the trade to help your client find the ideal family rental home.

6. Make Sure Your Clients are Prepared – Quality rentals lease up very quickly – especially larger units – so make sure your clients have everything they need to move forward on a lease application. For example, they will need a form of ID and proof of income. If they have past rental references, those are good to bring, too. Lastly, your client should be prepared to provide all the information required to perform a credit check.

5. Begin Your Search For the Right Number of Bedrooms – In many areas, occupancy restrictions limit how many people can legally reside in an apartment. The typical restriction is two people per bedroom. So while many families with three children think, especially if it’s short-term, they can make do in a two-bedroom unit, the management firm or landlord will often reject the application, requiring they opt for three bedrooms instead. So be sure you are looking for the right size unit for your clients.

4. If You Client Wants a lot of Square Footage, Think Beyond Single-Family Rentals – If your client is looking for a lot of space, a single-family rental isn’t their only option. There are many well-designed units that live much larger than their square footage thanks for design efficiencies and built-ins, especially in newer buildings. And open concept designs found in most newer apartment homes creates a much larger feeling. Considering a unit in an apartment building or community will open up the available options greatly for your clients.

3. Ask about Family-Friend Community Features – Not every apartment community is a good fit for a family. So pre-screen buildings or communities before suggesting them to your client. Ask whether the property has any family-oriented events or amenities, like pools, playgrounds, movie rooms, or parks. And check out the surrounding neighborhood, too, to see whether it would be a good spot for a family.

2. Do Your Homework on the Schools – Although many of your clients may already be enrolled in school and are seeking a rental nearby, others may use this move to have access to a better school for their children. Be a great resource for them by knowing what you can about the best (or best avoided!) area schools.

1. Meet with a Management Firm with Several Properties in its Portfolio – Save both you and your client time by meeting with a management firm with access to many different rental options. You can present them with your clients’ must-have list such as pet-friendly rentals, specific amenities, parking, carpet vs. hardwood, etc. and they can provide all their available options from which your client can choose. It’s much easier than driving from individual listing to individual listing.


RMK Management Corp. is the Chicago-area’s largest market-rate apartment management first with more than 9,000 units under management. For a list of RMK’s management portfolio, visit www.rmk.com.