Check Your Credit Before Apartment Hunting

MAR 04, 2015

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You’ve looked at what seems like a hundred apartments and have finally found the perfect space. But before you start filling out the paperwork, make sure your credit report and score are up to par.

Many landlords require prospective tenants to agree to a credit check before signing a lease. Taking a moment to do so yourself, before submitting your application, can allow you to identify if anything that is dragging down your credit score – and save you money on your security deposit!

Credit Report

Landlords usually review a copy of your credit report to find out if you consistently pay your bills on time. In addition to payment history, they are looking for negative actions taken against you, such as judgments, liens and collections. Landlords use this information to estimate how likely it is that you will be a responsibly tenant and pay your rent. Those who can be trusted are usually rewarded with the best move-in specials, such as one month free or no security deposit.

Credit Score

Your score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness. It is calculated based on the details listed in your credit report. It is commonly part of a credit check, because it’s gives viewers a quick read on how trustworthy or risky you are considered as a borrower.

Options For Those With Poor Credit

If you have not yet established a credit history or have a less-than-perfect credit score, you have options. But keep in mind that securing an apartment while you’re in the process of building a stronger score is more expensive. Living with someone, versus renting alone, could benefit your leasing terms if they have a stronger financial history.

Renters with a limited or poor credit history are typically penalized by additional expenses. Landlord’s may require a larger security deposit or a couple months’ rent in advance, which definitely make it more challenging to move. Especially, when you throw in the cost of a moving company – you could be looking at a few thousand dollars! Each landlord will have a different policy on credit requirements, so speak with them about your options. And shop around! You may find a less penalizing lease elsewhere.

Searching for a new apartment and moving into a new place should be an exciting time. You can reduce the stress of signing a lease, by keeping your credit information in good standing and reviewing it before you start house hunting.