The current real estate market has made the search for a living space an extremely competitive endeavor and has led landlords to apply high standards for potential renters. Modern apartment communities are will look very closely at your credit score, your income, and even your past renting experiences to decide if you are the right fit for an apartment community. Use these basic guidelines to improve your application and make you more attractive to rental communities!
Be Wise About Your Budget
Be realistic when deciding the amount of rent you can afford. If you choose an apartment with a rental fee that is greater than your income, you are likely to be denied by a landlord. A good standard for determining rent is to make sure your rent does not exceed 30% of your gross income. Be sure to consider all of your expenses as well – if you are caring for children, a loved one, or a parent, you may need to adjust your expectations to meet rent eligibility.
Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a big part of how attractive you are to a landlord, but without a mortgage, it can be difficult to raise your score. Tools like Credit Karma and Experian can help you to keep track of your credit score, and features like Experian Credit Boost can add the bills your pay regularly including your cell phone, internet, cable, and utilities to your credit history to give you an instant boost. Get in the habit of buying essentials with your credit card and paying the bill immediately to avoid carrying a balance or incurring interest fees.
Before starting your search, make sure you are organized. Be ready to pay a security deposit, first and last months’ rent, and know when you want to move. A competitive rental market makes landlords reluctant to “hold” an apartment and your landlord is likely to choose the first tenant who is ready and willing to begin residence. Likewise, a landlord will be more likely to notify you about upcoming availability if they know you are prepared.
A good tenant is a great investment for any landlord, and referrals and letters of recommendation can be very important assets to a potential renter. Get referrals from past landlords and employers that show that you are dependable and honest. Referrals are most effective when they originate from professional sources like your employer or your landlord, but it never hurts to have personal references from neighbors, too.
Mind Your Manners
When you begin searching for an apartment, be on your best behavior throughout the process. Be polite to the agent you speak with to arrange a tour and during the interactions you have with staff. Come to appointments on time, and be respectful when you ask questions. Rather than asking “Why is rent here so expensive?” ask “What is included in the rental price? What are your community amenities? What does this location offer?” If your landlord gets the idea that you may be a demanding or unreasonable tenant, they may be more likely to choose a better-mannered applicant instead.
Follow these basic rules and you can be your landlord’s first choice to be their next new apartment community resident!