Are you hoping to move into a rental property soon? If so, getting approved for an apartment is the first step.
The apartment application process is a lot like a job interview or college application. Landlords are looking for specific criteria that identify who they should rent to and who they should avoid having as a tenant.
Not sure how to prepare for apartment hunting? Read on to learn how to get approved for an apartment with these five simple tips.
1. Look for an Independent Landlord
Large rental companies that own a lot of complexes tend to be strict with their application processes. If you don’t have a rental history or are otherwise concerned about getting approved, you may be better off avoiding them.
Instead, look for independent landlords or small, privately-owned companies. Not only are they less likely to scrutinize every aspect of your past, but they may also offer lower prices on better units.
2. Boost Your Credit Score
Your credit score is an indicator of how likely you are to keep up with monthly payments. As such, you should expect an inquiry into your credit every time you go through the apartment application process.
Most landlords will consider a good credit score to be above 680, regardless of which source they’re using (FICO or VantageScore). If your credit is less than stellar, work hard to get it up to 680 before applying for an apartment. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using your credit card to cover a fixed expense and auto-paying the entire balance each month.
3. Know How to Show Proof of Income
Landlords not only make their living off of rent, but they also use that money to pay for essential property upkeep and other management expenses. As such, most of them won’t approve tenants without being certain they’ll be able to afford the monthly rent.
It’s common for rental applications to ask for proof of income that shows you earn 1.5-3x the rent each month. If you’re a freelancer or don’t have a pay stub from work, you may be able to use a check stub creator to illustrate your income.
4. Talk to References Beforehand
If you’ve rented before, landlords and property managers will almost always contact your previous place of residence to confirm you were a good tenant. They may also ask for character references from friends, family, or colleagues.
To increase your chances of getting approved, talk to a few key people before apartment hunting, and ask if you can use them as a reference. Then, once you apply, inform them that they might get a call from the complex. This makes it less likely that they’ll ignore the call or get caught off-guard.
5. Be Prepared for Initial Costs
Moving into an apartment costs a lot more than your first month’s rent. Some of the fees you should be prepared to pay upfront include:
- Application fee
- Credit and background check fees
- Security deposit
- 1-3 months rent
- Renters insurance
The more you’re able to cover at the very beginning of your lease, the higher the chances you’ll get approved.
These Tips Increase Your Chances of Getting Approved for an Apartment
Getting approved for an apartment may seem difficult, but it’s a lot easier with these insider tips. If you work on your credit, have your proof of income ready to show, and save up to cover the initial fees, you have a good chance of getting approved wherever you apply.
Looking for more rental and real estate advice? Be sure to read through the other content on our site.