The Apartment Application: What You Need to Know
Finally… You visited an apartment and fell in love with it. It’s the place of your dreams!
So you’re done — right?
Wrong. It’s time to apply.
For those new to this process — it can be daunting and quite personal.
Have your paperwork prepared beforehand, so you can submit quickly and not lose out on that place you love.
What exactly is an apartment application?
Management companies don’t want just anyone living in their buildings. They want to know who you are and, of course — if you can pay.
While each company is different, most require the same things. So you should be able to plan ahead.
What do I need to provide?
A scanned copy or even a picture of your license should suffice. However you do it, make sure the front and back are clear and readable.
This won’t pass for ID
You’ll also likely have to provide your Social Security Number. It’s personal, yes, but you won’t get the place without it.
This is one of the main criteria management companies will use to assess you as a potential tenant. Since this is always required, you can pre-empt it by printing a new credit report and sending it in with the application.
Often you’ll be asked to provide two recent bank statements, along with your account number. This, along with your credit check and employment info (below), will be used to gauge your ability to pay rent each month.
Proof of Employment
There’s a couple facets to this…
Reference Letter. Your employer will provide this (on company letterhead), stating that you are employed by the company, for how long, and what your position and salary is.
Income Requirements. Most management companies will require tenants to earn 40–50x the monthly rent (e.g. making $60,000 for a $1,500/month apartment). You’ll have to provide your last 2–3 pay stubs as proof of this income.
If you don’t meet this requirement: You’ll need to have a guarantor who, outside of also going through the application process, earns 80–90x the monthly rent.
This one is straighforward. You’ll be asked to provide your last two tax returns or W-2s. Have these ready when you start looking.
Management companies will often want to call your previous landlord to ask them about you as a tenant. Did you pay rent on time? Were you messy and troublesome? Or clean and friendly? These can go a long way, especially in big markets where you’re competing against other applicants.
The Application & Fees
Oh right… the application. Luckily, this isn’t too difficult. Applications are fairly standard, asking for some basic information about you.
Unfortunately, they also require an application fee. Expect to pay anywhere from $50–$100. The amount depends on the property manager, with some as low as $25 and others upwards of $200. This is non-refundable so make sure you have everything else in order before you pay to apply.
To take the apartment off the market while your app is processed, some management companies will have you put down a portion of your security deposit. If you love the place, it’s a recommended practice since you’ll have to provide that money anyway.
After the above, you must be thinking…
How does anyone actually get an apartment?
Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it looks.
Be prepared and carve out time dedicated to the administrative aspects of getting your new place. Then — you’re done!
Well… until it’s time to sign your lease and move. 😊
But we’ll save those for another time.
Until then, happy searching!
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