While you may think that your credit score only matters when buying a house, your credit score can also matter when looking for an apartment. Depending on your municipal laws, or even the property manager's policies, you may not be eligible for certain apartments if you have a low credit score. While there are no-credit-check apartments available, you may be limited in your options or have your heart set on one that does check your credit score. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your chances of getting into these types of apartments. Here are just four tips to help you find an apartment.
Apply With a Roommate
Credit scores matter to property managers because if you have a poor score, the landlord may wonder whether you have the means to pay your rent each month. However, if you apply to an apartment community with a roommate that has a good credit score, then the landlord may be more lenient towards yours. If you struggled to meet rent prices in the past, a roommate can be incredibly helpful since you'll split the costs. Some areas, like New York, have such high costs of living, that you could potentially save as much as $15,500 a year just by splitting the rent with a roommate.
Consider a Higher Security Deposit
Before you start paying rent, apartment complexes will usually need a security deposit. This deposit is a good faith payment that shows the landlord that you will pay rent. Security deposits might include your first month's rent while others may be refundable at the end of your lease agreement. If you offer to pay a higher deposit upfront—like two month's rent instead of one—the property manager may be more inclined to let you sign a contract since he or she will have reserve funds in place in case you couldn't make a payment for some reason.
Get a Cosigner
If a roommate isn't an option or you can't pay a higher deposit up front, you may want to apply to an apartment complex with a cosigner. A cosigner could be a parent, close friend, relative, etc. A cosigner will come sign the apartment agreement with you, and they will be contractually obligated to pay the rent if you are unable to pay.
Follow the 30% Rule
When you apply to an apartment complex, you'll likely have to show proof of income, such as pay stubs or tax returns. While you may have a steady income, that doesn't guarantee that you'll be able to pay rent each month. To improve your chances of approval, you should apply to apartment complexes that meet your personal 30% rule. The 30% rule is a budgeting standard where you shouldn't be paying more than 30% of your monthly income on your rent. The 30% rule may not work for everyone, especially if you have other debts/loans to pay off, but it can be a great starting point for some people. Certain landlords may be more willing to work with you if you keep this rule in mind, since it won't look like you are trying to live beyond your means.
Reach out to a business that deals with apartment rentals for more tips on how to find the right home for your needs.