Before you start your apartment hunt, pull a free credit report online.
Everyone loves moving, right? The magical scent of cardboard boxes, the soothing sound of screeching rolls of tape, the lower back pain since you didn’t “lift with your legs.” Okay, you caught us: moving is tough. But to escape your landlord who lingers too long, your roommate who leaves out dirty dishes, or move in with your soulmate, it’s a necessary evil. But before you call movers or try to learn how to drive a moving truck the size of your apartment, here’s one tip that can ease the stress of switching homes.
Before you start apartment hunting, get a free credit report online.
Before your landlord-to-be requests your credit report, you can get a free copy yourself. By knowing in advance if there are any red flags, you can prepare to explain a less than ideal history, or fix mistakes on your report in advance, which will help you better navigate the joy of locking down new digs.
There are free sites (like annualcreditreport.com) to check your full credit report fee-free. And free is our favorite price.
Why it Works
Landlords and leasing agents will often run your credit to make sure you have a history of paying bills, and paying them on time. By reviewing your credit first, you have a good handle on your own credit history and will be able to correct any possible mistakes on your report, before the info gets to the person guarding your future dream home. It’s a simple and easy way to increase your chances of landing that super perfect dream apartment.
- Visit annualcreditreport.com to request your credit report, for free. You can get one free credit report, per year, from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, with no impact to your credit and no cost. That means you can pull your credit three times per year fee-free. If you choose to pull just one bureau’s report at a time, you can return every 4 months to keep tabs on your credit throughout the whole year.
Credit mistakes can happen, so it’s important to keep your eye on your report regularly, so no errors keep you from landing your new home (or from any other goals for that matter). Keep in mind, the different credit bureaus sometimes use slightly different information to determine your score and make up your report, so it’s a good thing to make the rounds with each of them.
- Be prepared for the leasing office or landlord to run your credit. It’s a standard part of the apartment application process, and one you shouldn’t be surprised by. Have your social security info ready, since apartment renting can be more competitive than some sports. Bottom line - landlords want to see how responsible you are with money (i.e. able to pay your rent on time), and your credit is a measure of financial responsibility and trustworthiness.
- Ask if you can bring your credit report to the leasing office, instead of having them pull it It might be a long shot, but worth trying. The number of times your credit report is run is one of the 5 factors of your credit score. So, if the landlord (or someone else, with your permission) runs your credit, it can slightly decrease your score – affecting up to 10% of your score and remaining on your report for up to 2 years.
Overall, the BYO credit report move will help the process go more smoothly so you can spend more time on more exciting things, like debating whether you should pack or donate your vintage T-shirt collection.
Whether you’re moving down the block or moving on up, moving can be stressful enough even without all the financial hurdles of applying for a new apartment. By being prepared for the apartment credit check process and taking ownership of your credit information, you can feel that much more prepared for all the changes ahead. You might be moving, but your credit report is one roommate you’ll never be able to shake.
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