Photo Courtesy of Allstate
Lifestyle 26 March 2018
You’ve found your dream apartment, and you envision all the things you are going to fill it with to make it your salvation and the place you come home to after a long day of work. You find yourself skimming through magazines and scouting ideas on aesthetics from the wall hangings and furniture, right down to the curtains and bedding. But, there’s one thing keeping you from landing that apartment; your credit isn’t exactly stellar. Whatever the reason may be as to why your credit isn’t up to par, there are ways you can work around it, however, you may have to take a step down from the ultimate dream apartment to one that works within your current credit situation.
Here are four ways to land an apartment with bad credit as you work on getting your credit back on track for the future.
1. Find a co-signer
If you are considered unqualified for a rental, you could enlist the help of a co-signer. A co-signer will agree to pay any outstanding rent should you fail to make payments. Having a co-signer may provide a landlord with financial reassurance. However, your co-signer will have a serious responsibility as well as take on a financial burden should you default. It’s important for both you and your co-signer to be able to afford the rent on the apartment. Have a detailed conversation with your co-signer before you both sign the lease. Another option would be to find a roommate that has good credit.
A roommate with good credit can be a better alternative as you can split the rent expense and put extra money away or towards paying outstanding debt, which in turn will help repair your credit. Once your lease is up, you may be in a better position credit-wise to get a place on your own and not have to worry about a co-signer or a roommate.
2. Offer a larger deposit
Tenants with bad credit pose a risk for landlords. Try offering a larger deposit to secure yourself in obtaining the apartment if you have the means to do so. By paying a few months’ rent in advance, the landlord may consider having you as a tenant and ease any doubts about you being financially negligent in paying your rent. Keep in mind that rental deposits are capped in some states, so find out what how much you can pay up front in your area.
By paying a few months’ rent in advance, the landlord may consider having you as a tenant
3. Find an Independent Property Owner
If your bad credit is keeping you from getting an apartment, you may have a better chance of landing an apartment with an independent owner as opposed to a property management company. Private owners may be more willing to work with someone who has poor credit, however, make sure you do your homework to safeguard against any issues with the property. Finding reviews of independent owners could be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Before signing a lease with an independent landlord, you can check public records that can reveal a host of information from foreclosures to lawsuits brought about by previous tenants. If there are multiple units on the property, talk to the current tenants about their experiences living there.
It’s best to wait if you can until you rebuild your credit and raise your credit score. Photo Courtesy of Kingston Apartments
4. Get letters of Recommendation
A letter of recommendation could be a good way to prove you will be a responsible tenant. If you left your previous apartment on good terms and were prompt with your rent payments each month, ask your former landlord to give you a recommendation. You can also ask your current employer for a letter verifying your income as well as attest that you are a responsible employee.
Showing that you have cash flow enabling you to manage monthly rent payments and a description of your good character could be the deciding factor to get the apartment if the landlord was initially on the fence.
While you may want to get into that new apartment sooner than later, it’s best to wait if you can until you rebuild your credit and raise your credit score. If you choose to wait, take this period of recovery to set a budget and stick to it, make your loan and credit card payments on time, and try not to use your credit cards or apply for any new lines of credit to keep your credit utilization low. Once you are back on track, you’ll find you will have better apartment options that suit your needs.
4 min read
One of the few things I remember from grade school biology is the concept of tropism. In plain language, tropism is the reaction of a living thing, like a plant, towards a stimulus like sunlight or heat. You've likely seen this before but just didn't recognize it for what it was. If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action. The plant is bending towards the sunlight.
If you've ever seen the leaves of a potted plant bending towards a windowpane, that's tropism in action.
In our everyday lives, we are all inundated with stimuli throughout the day. The driver in front of us that stalls at the yellow light and zooms through the red light, leaving us behind to wait. Or the customer service rep that leaves us on hold for an ungodly amount of time, only for the call to prematurely drop. There are so many examples both common and unique to our individual lives. The trouble begins when we form the habit of responding to everything — particularly negative stimuli. By doing this, our mental peace is disrupted and diverted making us slaves to whatever happens to happen. Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us. Now take that concept and multiply it by the number of things that can happen in a day, week, or month. What happens to you mentally with so many emotional pivots?
For me, the result is: Restlessness. Anxiety. Sleepness. Mindless Eating. Everything besides peace of mind.
Much like the plant bending towards sunlight, we oftentimes react and lean into whatever is happening around us.
Earlier this year, something pretty trivial happened to me. I'm sure this has happened to you at some point in your life also. I was walking through a door and, as I always do, glanced back and held the door longer and wider than normal for the person coming behind me. My gracious gesture was met with silence — no thank you, no smile, not even a nod. I remember being so annoyed at this travesty of justice. How dare they not acknowledge me and thank me for holding the door? After all, I didn't have to do it. I know I spent the next few hours thinking about it and probably even texted a few friends so that they could join in on my rant and tell me how right I was to be upset. In hindsight, I should not have allowed this pretty petty thing to occupy my mind and heart, but I did. I let it shake my peace.
I've since taken some classes on mindfulness and what I've learned (and I'm still learning) is the art of being aware — being aware of the present and my feelings. Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy. We're all human and having emotions is part of the deal but as mindful adults, it's critically important to choose what you're going to care about and let everything else pass along. There are several tools on the market to help with this but the Headspace app has really helped me in my mindfulness journey. The lessons are guided and coupled with some pretty cute animations.
Recognizing when I'm triggered towards annoyance or anger gives me the opportunity to take a step back to understand why and assess whether it deserves my attention and energy.
Over the course of the next week, I'd like to challenge you to pay more attention to your reactions. How aware are you of how you allow your environment to affect you? Are you highly reactive? Do you ruminate for hours or even days on events that are insignificant in your life? If so, practicing a bit of mindfulness may be the way to go.