Finding an apartment that you like isn’t that hard, but actually locating one that you can sign the lease for is another story altogether. If you don’t have a rental history behind you, or you’re renting an apartment for the very first time, getting approved can seem nearly impossible.
While some landlords and property managers will be hesitant to work with first-time renters, there are some things you can do to make the process easier on yourself. After all, everybody has to rent an apartment for the first time at least once.
Find Affordable Apartments
The word affordable is a little bit confusing, mostly because it means different things to different people. When it comes to paying for an apartment though, it generally means looking for something that won’t take more than one-third of your income each month to pay the rent.
Having to go beyond that 30% to the 35% marker can put a strain on your finances and property managers know this. They’ll be less likely to rent to you if you have to spend 50% of your income on rent, since it could be hard for you to do that on a month when you get surprise bills or expenses.
The only exception is in major cities like Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, where rent is often ridiculously expensive. In places like that, you should still try to avoid going over the 40% mark.
Bring Financial Records
When you’re renting for the first time, you need all the proof you can get that you’re a responsible person. That’s why it’s important to bring financial records that show how stable you are.
Start by bringing pay stubs, if you have them. Six months of income is fine, but bringing up to a full year can be helpful for many property managers.
You can also bring tax returns for the last three years to show you’ve been stable for some time. Along that same line, bringing bank statements, for both checking and savings accounts, can put property managers at ease.
If you find the perfect apartment and the landlord just won’t work with you on regular terms, you don’t have too many options other than to look elsewhere. One thing you can do though is to offer to pre-pay some of your rent for part of the lease term.
While you probably don’t have enough cash on hand to buy out your lease for a year, offering to pre-pay for two or three months of rent, along with your security deposit, shows how serious you are about getting the apartment.
Offering to pre-pay also tells the landlord or property manager that you’ve got at least that much cash in the bank, so you shouldn’t have a hard time paying your rent each month.
Can You Co-Sign?
Young people looking to rent for the first time, especially in more expensive neighborhoods where the competition can be stiff, often need a little bit of help. A co-signer can be one of the best ways to ensure you get the apartment you want.
Look to a parent with an excellent credit score and proven financial history. If they sign the rental agreement along with you, the landlord or property manager will have a guarantee that the rent will get paid each month – even if money is a little tight for you.
Contact Heers Management to learn more about working with very little rental history to find an apartment. Heers Management can also help you with everything from finding the right neighborhood to renting the perfect apartment.