If your credit is less than stellar, your Houston apartment search will be more complicated, but not impossible. A little planning can go a long way towards getting you into a great apartment and starting to rebuild your credit. The key is to know your rights and your worth, and let your potential landlords know they can count on you. There is some great advice around the web on how to do just that—CNN Money, AOL Real Estate, and About.com Credit/Debt Management have all addressed the topic recently. Here’s the best of their advice:
Choose Your Landlord Carefully
Not all apartment managers do credit checks, but most do. When calling about a rental, ask what criteria the landlords use to approve renters. Give special consideration to renters who don’t require a credit check. Also look for small leasing companies and owners renting out their properties directly. They will have more freedom to bend their rules than do large leasing agencies, which tend to have more rigid rules. Meet the owner in person, if you can. Seeing you face-to-face helps build trust.
Don’t hide your credit score if a potential landlord asks for it. Everyone knows that, in this economy, there are many good reasons why a responsible person may have a poor credit rating—large medical bills, a period of unemployment, or getting caught in the recent mortgage crisis are just a few. Don’t be afraid to explain yourself to the owner or manager you talk to. Add a letter of explanation to your application. You can even add a personal statement to your credit bureau file for anyone to see when they pull your credit record.
Make Your Landlord Feel Secure
Your landlord just wants to know that they can depend on you to stay through the end of your lease, pay on time and take care of the premises. Give them all the evidence you can that this is true. Get letters of recommendation from previous landlords, employers and others who have been able to count on your financial responsibility. Be prepared to pay a larger security deposit or some of your rent in advance. You may even be able to set up automatic rent payments from your bank account or credit card, so your landlord will never wonder if a check is coming.
If All Else Fails, Be Creative
If you’re still having trouble landing a rental, consider having a friend or family member with good credit co-sign on your lease, which means they don’t live with you, but they will take responsibility if you are unable to pay your rent. Renting together with a roommate who has good credit is another option, but remember: If your name is not on the lease, it won’t help you rebuild your credit for the future.
Whatever your situation, Houston Apartment Insiders can help find the Houston apartment that’s best for you. Call us at 713-581-1055 (866-918-4022 toll free) or contact us online.
Posted by Melanie Belasco Levy on 10/07/10