Renting an Apartment with Bad Credit: Yes, It’s Possible!

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Today it is tougher than ever to get into the apartment we want or get into an apartment period; renters are riddled with questions about how to go about finding a place.

With supply and demand out of favor with the tenants, we must now learn how to navigate the rental market waters if we wish to be successful. If your credit is bad on top of all the other challenges, you may be at the point where you feel like giving up. If you feel like giving up, know that I wrote this article for you and please, don’t give up!

Let’s start by understanding one thing. Landlords and property managers are people too, even though you may disagree. They have needs, and pressures like all of us have. They want a steady tenant that will not cause problems with the other tenants, take care of the dwelling, and most importantly, pay their rent on time. So let us come at this problem from that perspective. Similar to the concept many Americans adopted under John F Kennedy, stop thinking about what a landlord or property manager can do for you, think about what you have to offer them. This perspective is a critical way of thinking if you expect a landlord or property manager to deem you as a valuable and worthy tenant.

Valuable tenants are hard to come by

As a landlord, many can attest to one of our biggest complaints. It is tough to find a great long term tenant that will not cause any problems and pay their rent on time. Landlords and mangers become hardened, thinking the worst about potential tenants. Property managers assume prospective tenants may not pay the rent or damage the apartment in some fashion. That is why they place such high value on a good tenant. With that said, all you need to do is let that landlord or property managers know you are, in fact, that valuable tenant.

Preparation determines success

It’s amazing how many would-be rental applicants show up unprepared. From our experience that it is most of them. That is excellent news for you because after reading this article, we can promise you, you will be prepared. Being prepared will cut away a lot of your competition. Below we will outline some tips for you to get the “Yes” you have been looking for. These tips are all about helping you be prepared and executing a winning strategy.

Tip #1

Look for smaller apartment complexes. Usually, large apartment complexes are more guidelines and policy-driven. They can be more stringent and lack the authority to help you. Smaller complexes may be managed by a smaller management company or the actual owners themselves. These managers may be willing to listen to your circumstances regarding your credit.

Tip# 2

If you have poor credit, have a statement prepared as to why your credit is low. Maybe you have medical bills or just went through a divorce; whatever the case is make sure to articulate it when the subject gets brought up. Nothing is worse from a landlord’s perspective than to ask a potential tenant of why their credit is not good, and they can’t give a solid answer. If you act dumbfounded or clueless, the property manager is going to assume you don’t care, so why should they care.

Tip # 3

Offer a larger deposit to sweeten the deal. I have had tenants pay me three months in advance. We’ve heard a story about one tenant who paid one year in advance. We all know that “money talks,” The more you give for a deposit, the lower the risk you are to the landlord. Even if the landlord does not accept the extra money as a possibility, it still shows that you are very serious about and value the opportunity to rent their apartment.

Tip #4

According to our friends at My Active Agent, “bolster what you do have. Have you had the same employer for over five years? These days employment longevity is rare. Landlords and property managers like to see a history of stability and consistency. Take a minute and see if you may have some other attributes that demonstrate stability and consistency.”

Tip #5

Dress to impress. Make a statement that you care about how you look; if you like taking care of yourself, you may also like taking care of your apartment. Let the property manager know you value and care about yourself. Be careful not to overdo it and keep it appropriate for the occasion. Do not wear too much perfume or cologne. You want the manager to assume you are a neat and orderly person in everyday life even if you may need a little work in that area.

Tip #6

Have your move-in rent and deposits ready and waiting. Landlords get flooded with calls from potential prospects that want them to hold the rental because they are “going to get” the deposit sometime soon. Do yourself and the landlord a favor, have your deposits ready before you come to the appointment. If you are given the green light, you will want to act as soon as possible, securing your new lease.

Tip # 7

Move FAST! You have got to be one of the first on the scene. Have all of your information ready such as references and your past rental history. Have your deposits ready as well. Do not wait until the weekend or until you get some free time. You must make the time if you want the apartment. Good deals and beautiful apartments go fast.

Tip #8

If possible, don’t have pets. Landlords always prefer tenants who do not have pets. Many landlords and apartment complexes will not allow them. Pets have cost landlords thousands of dollars. See if a family member can keep your pets. Being pet free will give you an advantage.

Tip #9

Wash your car before coming to apply. If a property manager sees you pull up in a dirty car, they automatically think you may be a dirty person. You want to show the property manager that you take care of your possessions.

Tip #10

Have your application information ready. Have your professional references in a resume format along with your personal recommendations. Having your information available, like your license plate number saves time and shows the landlord you are thoughtful and conscientious about how you conduct business.

Tip #11

Be active. Be unstoppable when it comes to looking for rentals. Don’t find one you like and quit looking. You may miss an excellent opportunity. Be resolute in your search and only stop after your lease is signed.

Tip #12

Don’t give up. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Keep going, you may get 20 no’s, but you only need one, yes. Don’t quit, and you will be rewarded for your persistence and effort.

Wrapping It Up

By having and executing a concrete strategy, even with poor credit, it is possible to secure a lease. Present yourself as an asset to the landlord and be confident using excellent eye contact. If your lease application is rejected, consider it practice for the next time and don’t become discouraged. Be aware and vigilant when looking for rental opportunities and move quickly. Good deals or great locations rent fast, so making yourself available is the key to success.