Your credit score can affect many different aspects of your life, but can be particularly daunting when you’re trying to rent an apartment. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been renting for years, having either a low credit score or no credit history can make your search for a new apartment difficult — but not impossible. Here are a few tips for when you start your search and you’re not sure if your credit history will make the grade…

Know Your Credit Score
Failing to find out your credit score before going into any situation where you might have to discuss it is never a good idea. Get yourself prepared before you begin your search by checking your credit score with the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion® and Equifax®. You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the agencies, and you can choose to have them all at once or stagger them. Additionally, there are online tools to help you monitor your credit should you want to keep a closer eye on it more regularly.

Be Honest
If you’re already aware that you have a low credit score and you’re concerned that it may cost you an apartment that you really love, be honest with the apartment manager before they run your credit score. Honesty can be a big point in your favor. Remember, credit scores can be damaged from illness or losing a job — it’s not always a reflection on your character. If you can, try bringing reference letters from former apartment managers to show you’re the kind of resident they’re looking for.

Get a Roommate
Not only does having a roommate mean you can divide up both the rent and bills, but it can also go a long way to pushing the decision of an apartment manager in your favor — particularly if your roommate has better credit than you do. Additionally, if you’re working to repair your credit having that extra cash on hand can be helpful towards becoming more financially stable.

Find a Co-Signer or Guarantor
Poor or little credit history doesn’t need to be a barrier to renting an apartment if you’re able to find someone who can co-sign or guarantee the lease. This means that should you not be able to pay, that individual would be responsible for paying the rent. Co-signers would usually be a trusted relative or friend with a good credit score. Of course, they’re taking a risk co-signing for you so be sure you’re able to afford the apartment you’re signing for.

Increase Your Deposit or Pay in Advance
While coming up with a deposit is tough, sometimes managers will ask for a larger deposit from those renters with poor or little credit history. This offers them some security should you not be able to pay your rent. They may also ask for rent in advance. Be prepared for this while you’re saving for your deposit. You’d hate to lose out on an apartment you love because you couldn’t come up with the cash.

Confirm Your Employment
Even if your credit is in good standing, bringing along your pay stubs or a confirmation of salary letter from your work can help smooth the way towards a lease. Showing stable employment is attractive to apartment managers. Previous tax returns can also help to show you’re regularly employed and earning.

Though having a poor credit history can make things like renting an apartment or getting a loan difficult, it doesn’t have to be impossible. Have you ever had trouble renting an apartment because of your credit history? What did you do?

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