Will I Qualify?
Before you start looking for an apartment, you should consider your financial and background information to ensure your application will have a good chance of being accepted. Here are the major factors that ownership looks for when processing your application:
Credit - You should always be aware of the range your credit falls in as it is used as a measurement of your financial capability and responsibility. There's no exact minimum score that management and owners looks for, but if your credit score is below 600 you may want to seek credit counseling before attempting to apply. Delinquencies, late payments, and collection accounts will all have a significant effect on your application. Also know that every time someone other than you requests your credit history, you receive an inquiry on your credit report which can lower your score more.
Income - The average income requirement for apartment rentals is that the total household income is equal to or greater than 3 times the monthly rent. For example, if you wanted to rent an apartment that is $1,000/month, your income would have to be at least $3,000/month or $36,000/year. If two roommates wanted to rent a two bedroom apartment that is $1500/month, their combined income would have to be at least $4,500/month or $54,000/year. Keep in mind that every owner has different standards on income as well. Some might require only 2.5 times the rent, while others might require 3.5 times.
Background - The owner will review your criminal background for the safety of the current tenants in the building. Many managers or owners will also contact your previous apartment owners/managers and employers for a reference.
Co-Signers - A co-signer is someone (either friend or family) who will co-sign on your application to improve your chance of approval. Some owners do not accept co-signers, and some may only accept co-signers to help with insufficient income, not poor credit. Keep in mind that if an owner accepts a co-signer for income, the co-signer's income requirement is usually higher than the normal three times monthly rent. It can be up to 4-5 times monthly rent because the co-signers have their own bills to pay as well as being liable for the new lease