It’s the start of the month and once again you find yourself with too many bills, too much credit debt and you’re several months behind on some if not all of your bills. To make things worse you are so far behind on your rent or mortgage that you have been evicted or your house has been foreclosed. First of all don’t beat yourself up too much. Millions of Americans are in the same situation that you are in. The first thing you need to do is find yourself a new place to live, but how do you do that with bad credit and an eviction or foreclosure on your record?
Finding a new apartment to rent is not impossible, but you are going to have to change your strategy from the traditional apartment hunter.
Don’t waste time on traditional rental magazines
The first thing you have to realize is that the traditional rental magazines will not work for you. These glossy little periodicals contain the best apartments and condos on the market and are probably out of your price range. More importantly, the ads in these magazines are purchased by the high end property managers who are looking for the best candidates available for their properties. This usually means having a high credit score, no evictions, no foreclosures and no bankruptcies. Since you don’t fit this criteria, you probably won’t get the apartment. Don’t waste your time looking for the needle in the haystack, move on to other sources to find your new place.
Get some extra cash together
Cash is always king and if you have bad credit you’re going to need extra cash to balance out the risk for your future landlord. In today’s economy landlords know a lot of people have bad credit, foreclosures and the like, but they still need to manage their risk. They do this by asking renters to pay a higher deposit, or maybe even asking them to pay an extra month’s rent in advance. Have the extra cash on hand to do this or else you will be on the bottom of the landlord’s list.
Go to Craigslist or other local sources
Craigslist.org seems to be the answer for almost everything nowadays, but for apartment rentals it simply is true. Although the big property mangers place ads here too, many other ads are from individuals or smaller property managers who may not have the strict requirements of credit checks and credit score minimums. In addition to Craigslist, try the classifieds in local newspapers which often have ads placed by individuals looking to quickly rent out their property.
Thoroughly research the area before submitting an application
Rental applications cost anywhere from $10 to $50. Why spend that money only to find out that the place you were approved for is in a terrible neighborhood? Before submitting any applications make sure you check out the location by either driving by the place or looking it up on Google Maps, Zillow.com or some other online site that will show you the actual street the place is on. Remember the landlord is going to show you the most flattering pictures as possible, so you won’t see any cracks in the walls or crackheads on the corner.
Be ready to move quickly
If you’ve been evicted you definitely are ready, but you need to have the cash in place (see above) and some of your things packed up. Every day a rental is empty a landlord is losing money so if you have cash in hand and are ready to move tomorrow the landlord may just rent to you to alleviate his financial pain.
Telling your prospective landlord the sob story about how you lost your job, your kids are starving because you haven’t fed them for weeks, and your painful eviction story WILL NOT get you an apartment. If anything the landlord will see you as too big a risk and toss your application away. Instead project an air of confidence that you will be able to pay the rent, you are a good tenant and that there is no reason he shouldn’t choose you. Wear clean clothes, groom yourself accordingly and approach the landlord with confidence.
Hopefully these tips will help you find a new place and get things restarted for you and your family. If you have any other tips for our readers, please share them. They will be appreciated!
Glossy rental magazines are a waste of time. Those property owners want the best renters – that means good credit, no evictions or foreclosures.
Every day a rental is vacant the landlord is losing money. He wants to rent to anyone who can pay the rent and not cause trouble. This could be you.
You may have bad credit, but you are not the only applicant with a checkered financial past. Be confident - your financial situation may not be as bad as you think it is.
Cash is king. Have extra money for a higher deposit or an extra month of rent. You will probably need it to get an apartment.