4 Financial Factors to Keep In Mind When Getting an Apartment

Summer is one of the most common times for people to move. And why not? The sun is out, and people don't have to worry about snow or freezing temperatures affecting their move. This can be a fun time of year, but before you start apartment hunting, make sure your finances are in a good place. When applying for an apartment, you will need a certain amount of money for a security deposit, and in some cases, a landlord will check your credit score. Continuing to make your credit card payments on time and whittling down your debt are all good, but here are a few things you should keep in mind when looking to rent a new apartment any time of year:

Some landlords require credit checks
You may be applying for an apartment because your credit score is not high enough to be approved for a mortgage. This is a common tradeoff, but be aware that some landlords will need to see your credit report before you're allowed to be on the lease. They can only see your credit report if you give them permission, but they may be more inclined to approve you for the apartment if you allow them to see it. Showing a good credit report to your possible new landlord can only help you in this situation.

You may need a cosigner
If your credit score is low, the landlord may either ask you to put down a bigger security deposit or have someone cosign your lease. These are asked for because they give your landlord a bit of reassurance that you will be paying rent on time. A larger deposit can be tough to come by if you're tight on funds, so you need a cosigner. Think about who you would want to be the cosigner on your lease. Things can change in a year, like getting a new job, so it is imperative that you cosign with someone who is accountable. Having your friends or roommates cosign the loan can be risky, as you don't know if their financial situation will change during your lease. Many first-time renters ask their parents to cosign with them, so this is an avenue you can try.

Paying rent doesn't help your credit score
The No. 1 thing you are told about your score is that paying your credit card bills on time is the best way to improve your credit score. Being punctual is always a good idea, even with utility or medical bills, but be aware that paying your rent on time will not have an impact on your score. Just because it doesn't show up on your credit report doesn't mean you shouldn't make your payments on time, though, as your landlord could charge you a late fee, keep a certain portion of the deposit you put down or evict you.

Prices can go up
Finding a good rent price can make all the difference in the world when searching for a place. You may be excited to finally find an apartment that is affordable for your budget or a rental price that is lower than you expected, but your landlord can change your rent. Your rent will be locked in for the time of your lease if it is a year lease, but after that, your landlord could change it. This can be because you were late too many times with your rent or have caused damage. The landlord or an apartment association could also increase your rent if they do an income assessment after your first lease is done. Plus, you could be stuck with a landlord who just raises your rent for no reason.