Renting an apartment is something most Americans do at least once in their life. But it can also be one of the trickiest things to do as a young adult. No matter who you are, renting an apartment presents one challenge everyone must overcome; getting approved. However, it is generally easier if you’ve rented one before. Although, it’s still not a guarantee. First-time renters, especially young adults and those with credit problems, face an even tougher task. If that’s you, below we’ve got nine tips on how to get approved for an apartment. Use them to make renting your next apartment easier, faster, and, in some cases, more affordable.
Amazingly, nearly 40 million people in the US live in an apartment, nearly 1 in 8 Americans! Most young adults move from their family homes directly into apartments. Retirees like apartments for their low maintenance and better security. Newly immigrated folks find it easier to rent instead of buy when they arrive. So no matter who you are, read on for our tips about how to get approved for an apartment.
1. Prepared Your Documents
Renting an apartment might sound easy, but it’s a process that can be challenging and, at times, frustrating. Most landlords and apartment complexes require all sorts of paperwork and proof. For example, landlords always require proof you make enough money to pay the lease. Get your ducks in a row before applying for a lease. Organizing your paperwork ahead of time will make it easier once you begin the application process.
Documents You Need to Get Approved for an Apartment
- Driver’s License
- Pay stubs
- Bank statements
- Reference letters (Boss, former landlord, church chaplain, etc.)
- Social security number
2. Organize Your Finances to Get Approved for an Apartment
As we mentioned, proving you can afford an apartment is crucial. One of the best ways to do that is to have your recent pay stubs ready. They should have your full name on them and, as suggested, be recent. Pay stubs from weeks or months earlier might not be enough.
3. Determine Your Budget Ahead of Time
Knowing what you can afford is essential when renting an apartment. Even if a 3-bedroom sounds great, you have to make sure it fits in your budget. One way to determine what you can afford for your rent is to divide your annual salary by 40%. For example, if you earn $50,000, your rent should be $1250.00 per month or less. Keep in mind that if you plan to have a roommate, you can add up the total of your annual salaries. There is lots of advice online about how much to budget for your rent, so do your research.
4. Look your Best
As we mentioned earlier, one trait many landlords look for in a renter is someone responsible. While they can’t be 100% sure, if you look like you’re responsible, it will certainly help. You can do that by wearing nicer clothes and combing your hair. In other words, meeting your potential new landlord looking fine is a good choice. (Looking like you just rolled out of bed – not so much.)
5. Provide a Referral Letter
A referral letter from your boss or someone you work with is a reliable way to prove you have a job. It also shows that you are a good employee and that your job is stable. Not to mention that a referral shows that you’re responsible. Speaking of which, a referral letter from other community leaders can be just as powerful. For example, your church’s chaplain, the chief of police, or even your former landlord. (If you moved out on good terms, of course.)
6. Prepare Your Finances
Even if you have all the paperwork proving you have income, money talks loudest. Your landlord will likely ask for 2 or 3 months’ rent if they think you’re a good rental candidate. (One month’s rent plus a security deposit.) When they do, asking for extra time to “get the money together” can seriously hurt your approval chances. In short, have the money ready and available. For example, if your rent is $1250.00, you’ll need $2500.00 ready. Preparing this money ahead of time is a great way to get approved for an apartment faster!
7. Check Your Credit Score
It will be more difficult to get approved for an apartment if you have bad credit. Due to this fact, it’s better to fix your credit before you apply. First, get your free credit report(s) and check your FICO score. Once you have the data, do whatever you can to improve your score. Pay delinquent accounts, for example, and dispute any errors you find. (They’re surprisingly common.)
8. Ask Someone You Know to be a Co-Signer
If this is your first time renting an apartment, you’ll probably need a co-signer to be approved. If you don’t have a work history or have bad credit, a co-signer can be helpful. Having one will make it easier for your landlord to accept your application. The reason? Knowing there’s another person who can pay the rent if you can’t.
9. Pay Several Months’ Rent Upfront
If all else fails, you can always offer more than the usual 1 or 2 months’ rent upfront. You will still need to prove your income, but this method can be helpful if you have bad credit. One caveat; be sure you keep everything documented. That way, when you inevitably move in the future, you’ll get your (big) deposit back.
How to Get Approved for an Apartment
Brought to you by CA Storage
We’ve known and helped many renters over the years here at CA Storage. And we hope these tips about how to get approved for an apartment have helped you! Many folks store some of their stuff with us and rent a smaller apartment. That way, they can save money for a new home in the future.
Here’s an example. The average 1-bedroom apartment rents for about $1100.00, while the average 2-bedroom is $1600.00. That’s $6000.00 more (or less) you’ll pay per year. A 10X15 storage unit at CA Storage averages $200.00 a month, or $2400.00 a year. So, if you rent a one-bedroom apartment and a 10×15 storage unit, you’ll save $3600.00 a year. ($6000.00 – $2400.00 = $3600.00)
In short, it makes sense to rent a smaller apartment and a storage unit, especially if your ultimate goal is to buy a house. This is especially true in California, where housing prices are insane.
Chat with CA Storage online if you have questions about renting a storage unit in California. Even better, visit one of our many self-storage locations in California and meet the on-site manager. They can answer your questions and steer you towards the best CA storage units to fit your specific needs perfectly.