How To Get Approved for an Apartment: 6 Tips To Make Your Rental Application Stand Out

How To Get Approved for an Apartment: 6 Tips To Make Your Rental Application Stand Out

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Renting an apartment isn’t as easy as waltzing in and saying “I’ll take it!”—particularly in today’s competitive rental market. With many prospective tenants to choose from, landlords can be picky, and they will prioritize applicants with a track record of paying off debts and respecting their neighbors and community.

So how exactly do you prove you’re a tenant a landlord could trust? You should aim to ace your rental application—paperwork you fill out that tells a landlord (or management company) pertinent details about your life that can help size you up as a tenant.

If you’re determined to land your dream apartment, there are plenty of ways to help your rental application stand out. Here are some steps to take, based on what landlords look for and how you can prepare to make the best first impression.

1. Improve your credit score before your apartment search

Even if you’ve never rented an apartment before, landlords will want to see how responsible you are with your finances, and one of the main ways they do that is by sizing up your credit score.

The number represents how well you’ve managed paying off past debts such as credit cards and college loans. For that reason, it’s crucial to practice as many good habits as possible to improve your credit score before applying.

According to FICO, your credit score is calculated based on the following:

  • Payment history (35%)
  • Amount owed (30%)
  • Credit history length (15%)
  • New credit (10%)
  • Credit mix (10%)

Most landlords require a minimum score of 650 to qualify for an apartment, but this can vary.

You can check your credit score for free at or get a copy of your full report at It’s wise to review both before renting to see how your credit habits are affecting you—and identify what to do to improve it. If you have a high amount owed on a credit card, you can make payments to reduce your debt before applying for rental properties.

2. Prepare important paperwork in advance

Gathering the necessary paperwork you will need will allow you to get a head start on your application.

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Preparing the necessary paperwork is the key to landing your dream apartment in a competitive market. This will allow you to get a head start by having all of your forms and records ready, making it easier to get ahead of other interested renters.

Compile a list of the following documents:

  • Identification: A driver’s license, state identification, or passport
  • Income: Pay stubs or a bank statement showing your monthly income
  • References: One from a previous landlord, employer, or credit institution
  • Offer or acceptance letter: This is ideal if you recently started a new job or moved to attend school
  • Tax forms: 1099 tax form if you’re freelancing or self-employed
  • Pet resume: List your pet’s breed, size, and vaccination history

Store your documents in a safe folder to avoid losing them, or add them digitally to an online renter profile. Platforms like Avail allow you to create an online renter profile, which can include information usually requested on a rental application, screening reports, and important documents. You can send your renter profile to more than one landlord with a shareable link.

3. Apply for rentals you best qualify for

The great thing about rental listings is that most include the landlord’s requirements to qualify. For instance, landlords will typically want renters to have income that amounts to about three times the rent, or have a minimum credit score of 650.

To determine how much rent you can afford, consider your monthly income, whether or not you plan on owning pets during the rental period, and the health of your credit score. Then, you can use apps like® to find available rentals near you.

Filter listings by price, property type, number of beds and baths, move-in date, if pets are allowed, and more. You can add multiple filters to make finding available rentals that meet your criteria easier.

4. Consider finding a co-signer

If you have a credit score below 650, landlords might ask you to find a co-signer to approve your application. A co-signer is willing to take on the financial responsibility of covering rent payments if you’re unable to.

This can be anyone from a family member to a personal friend. However, this is an important commitment, so you’ll want to find someone willing to take on the responsibility.

5. Make a good first impression during apartment showings

Make sure to be on time for the appointment and prepared to answer questions about your background.

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Apartments showings are a great chance to make a good first impression on a landlord or management company. For instance, make sure to be on time for the appointment and prepared to answer questions about your background.

It might also be helpful to notify the landlord at this point if you have a low credit score or previously experienced hiccups with a rental. You can share your side of the story, what you’re doing now to improve your credit, or how you resolved the previous issue.

6. Give yourself time to explore your options

Depending on the market and your criteria, finding your next apartment can take anywhere from a week to several weeks. To avoid panic renting or settling for any old apartment, give yourself as much time as you need to explore your options. Planning can also provide you with time to improve your credit score (if necessary) so you have the best chance of getting approved.

The key to qualifying for a rental

The best way to navigate today’s real estate landscape is to know what to expect—and prepare accordingly. Once you’re ready to search for a rental, visit to find available, up-to-date apartment listings near you, and learn more by reading our guide to finding a great rental.

The post How To Get Approved for an Apartment: 6 Tips To Make Your Rental Application Stand Out appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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