Blog December 1, 2020

What Do You Need to Rent an Apartment – A Brief Checklist

You’re finally moving out of the old man’s house and you find yourself confused, wondering What do you need to rent an apartment? Whether you are moving to a new state or just a couple of blocks away – we’re here to help! Figure out a budget and scroll down for a checklist of things you need to know and do before leaving your parents’ house.

What Do I Need When I Rent My First Apartment?

To reassure your future landlord that you are a stable and reliable person, you will have to submit your rental application along with some important documents. First, bring some sort of ID like a driver’s license or a passport. If you are not a citizen, know that some agencies will ask for a green card or other proof of residency. If you’ve rented before, you should also provide your rental history with names, addresses of the apartments and contact information. They’ll also require proof of income with your application and they’ll run a credit check.

Include the necessary documentation in your application before you start your search.

Credit – How to Qualify?

Your credit history could be a make-or-break factor on your search for an apartment. People who rent apartments want to make sure that their renters are fiscally responsible people likely to be timely with payments. Mostly, they are not looking for perfect credit history, but certain negatives like bankruptcies or breaking a lease on one of your previous apartments won’t get you an approval.

Do You Need Credit to Rent an Apartment?

Yes, but it’s possible to do it without it. No credit score is better than bad credit score because it means you don’t have debt. You’ll have better chances with a landlord who owns a single property or several apartments compared to professionally managed large apartment complexes, as these agencies have their set of guidelines and steps to follow before they sign a lease. You might be required to pay an additional refundable deposit (usually a one month’s rental fee) or you may require a cosigner.

Credit history could be a make-or-break factor in your search.

Social Security Number

Identity theft is a serious crime and we’re told not to share our social security number or personal information. However, there are some situations when we are required to share it and this is one of them. Landlords ask for this information in order to do a background check on their potential tenants and they are legally allowed to do it. And you are allowed to ask how they will protect your personal information and who will have access to it and to only give it to a legitimate company.

Be careful how and to whom you give your social security number.

Job History and Proof of Income

Landlords want to make sure you have a stable income, so they might ask for your job history of paystubs to confirm this. Being able to hold a job is an indicator that you will be able to pay rent on time. Sometimes, landlords will want to see your tax records, to know how much money you earn. Ideally, the rent-to-income ratio should be 30% of your monthly income or less and yes, landlords take this into account. So, if you don’t have a job, better look into how to find a job after college, because you’ll need it!

Next Step – Figure Out Your Budget and Consider Getting a Roommate

Figure out how much money you (can) make and how much you will have to spend on different aspects of your independence. Depending on the apartment, you’ll also have to pay for utilities (such as water, electricity, etc), food (around $200) and set aside some money for fun and unexpected expenses each month. The rental application and credit check can set you back up to $100. If your rent is more than one third of your monthly salary, you might require to have a cosigner (usually a parent) or consider having a roommate.

Know your budget.

Previous Landlords’ References

Most landlords tend to rent their apartments to the first good candidate, as they don’t want to wait too long and lose money. So, have all the papers ready when you start your search. A good standing with your previous landlords will get you a long way. If you have rented before, don’t shy away from asking for letters of recommendation and include contact information. This way, your future landlord can confirm that you are a reliable tenant with a steady job and that you pay rent on time.

Personal References

If you are moving out for the first time, don’t worry, personal references can help you out, too. But don’t put your mom or your college buddy as references, since they are not reliable sources in the eyes of your future landlord. Turn to you professors, colleagues, or supervisors instead. Volunteers from an organization you’ve worked with or even people from your church are also good choices. Just notify the people you choose in advance, as they will be contacted.

Good references will get you a long way, so prepare them in advance.

Standard Questions You Need to Ask

Hopefully, we’ve lessened your anxiety about moving out and answered all of your questions regarding the process. Now, let’s take a look at the questions you need to ask your landlord before signing the lease:

  • Is the lease year-long or month-to-month?
  • When is the rent due and what’s the payment method?
  • Are utilities included in the rental fee or do you pay for them separately (and how much can you expect to pay, if so)?
  • Is the security deposit refundable?
  • Is the neighborhood safe?
  • What are the rules and regulations?
  • Are there any amenities?

Different Types of Amenities

Large apartment complexes offer different kinds of amenities to attract customers. These include, but are not limited to, things like wifi, cable TV, pools, hot tubs, basketball or tennis courts, gyms, game rooms, laundry facilities, playgrounds, dog parks, garages, etc. Of course, different kinds of people lead different lifestyles, so choose a place that has amenities that go best with yours.

Don’t forget to see the place before signing the lease!

Embrace Change and Embark on a New Chapter

Saying bye to friends and family is never easy, especially if you are moving interstate. But it is also exciting, as you are embarking on a new chapter of your life! Prepare your household for moving during the coronavirus isolation and your movers will help you avoid the usual moving mistakes for a stress-free moving. Make sure you know what the most commonly forgotten things to pack are, so you don’t forget about some of the moving essentials, or leave the packing to professionals. We can even ship your car for you. Once you get that out of your way, don’t forget to meet new neighbors and enjoy your new place!