I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.See all posts Frank Gogol
How to Get an Apartment with No Credit
You’ve finally made it to the U.S. and you have valid documentation and possibly even a job. Now you just need a place to stay, but you don’t have a credit score to show your future landlord. As a visa holder or immigrant, you might be wondering how to get an apartment with no credit.
Below we take a look at some of your options and also explore how a personal loan can be the right solution for you!
11 Tips to Get an Apartment with No Credit
Here are a few basic tips that you can apply to help you get an apartment with no credit:
- Explain Your Situation
- Show that You have No Credit Because You Have No Debt
- Rent the Apartment from the Owner
- Provide References
- Prove Your Income
- Get a Cosigner
- Find a Roommate
- Offer to Move in ASAP
- Ask for a Month-to-Month Arrangement
- Pay the First Few Month’s Rent Upfront
- Provide a Larger Security Deposit or Rental Deposit
Each of these tips is explained in more detail below.
1. Explain Your Situation
If your potential landlord is wary about not giving you the apartment because you don’t have credit, explain to them why you don’t have credit. Explain the fact that you are a valid immigrant or visa holder and that you have not had a chance to build a credit report yet. Your reasons may make sense to them and will put them at ease.
2. Show that You have No Credit Because You Have No Debt
This slots in with our first point. Showing them your lack of debt to prove your lack of a credit report will substantiate your explanation. If you show them you still have to build credit in the U.S. and that your lack of credit score is not for some other dodgy reason or for not honoring past commitments, they could be willing to offer you a lease.
3. Rent the Apartment from the Owner
Apply and rent directly from the owner. You’ll waste too much time trying to convince too many people in the process if you don’t. Skip the apartments that are owned by large groups of people. They are most likely only concerned with your credit score. Apply to an owner with whom you can explain your situation directly.
4. Provide References
Providing references for your trustworthiness could convince your future landlord that you will honor your rent commitment despite your lack of credit score. Work colleagues or a manager can help to provide assurance.
5. Prove Your Income
Showing your future landlord that you have enough income available to pay the rent will certainly count in your favor. You should generally apply for places with a monthly rent that doesn’t exceed 30% of your monthly take-home pay. Enough savings for a few months of rent can also persuade the owner that you are a good pick.
6. Get a Cosigner
If the owners don’t want to budge on their credit score requirement, you can always find a cosigner to sign the lease with you. A friend or relative with a good credit score can offer their credit history as support for your application. This might give the owners the security they need. Just note your friend or relative will be liable for your rent payments whenever you default.
7. Find a Roommate
This will serve the same purpose as getting a cosigner. A roommate will share the rent and monthly utility bills’ responsibility with you. This will help to put the owner at ease as two people will be responsible for the monthly payments instead of just one.
8. Offer to Move in ASAP
Vacant property costs owners a lot of money as each month means they are losing potential income. Offering to move in immediately can help to convince an owner to give you the apartment. They’ll be able to make a rental income again as soon as your lease starts instead of having to wait for the perfect tenant with the right credit score to come around.
9. Ask for a Month-to-Month Arrangement
A month-to-month arrangement offers versatility to both the owner and the tenant. No one is locked into a long contract. The owner may not like the admin associated with a month-to-month agreement so they may ask a higher monthly rental payment. But, they get more cash and the option to end the agreement as soon as the month ends.
10. Pay the First Few Month’s Rent Upfront
Landlords are essentially running a business and every business needs positive cash flow. So offer to pay the first few months of rent in advance. The owner will definitely take your application seriously.
11. Provide a Larger Security Deposit or Rental Deposit
Here’s the best and most effective tip on how to get an apartment with no credit. Offer to pay a larger security deposit (also known as a rental deposit). This will both prove your income and state your commitment to the owner. The owner will also have security in case you end up not paying. Since a big part of the owner’s risk is mitigated, the chances are good that this might convince them to give you the apartment, despite your lack of credit score.
How to Get a Loan for a Rental Deposit
One way to improve your chances of getting approved to rent with no credit history is by offering a larger security deposit. But not everyone has that kind of extra money. With a personal loan, however, you could cover this extra cost in four simple steps:
- Completing an application
- Collecting your documentation
- Getting a decision and
- Receiving a disbursement
Below, we talk about the loan application process in more detail.
You can apply online for personal loans with no credit. This is good news as you need to move fast to get that apartment you’ve been searching for. Online applications make the application process so much simpler and faster!
Even though there aren’t many personal loans that don’t require credit, it is still important to shop around. Compare the loan terms and interest rate offered by the different lenders. It is important to find the best option for you. Check the eligibility criteria for each solution and only apply for the ones you know you are eligible for.
Supply all the necessary documentation to prove your eligibility. Since you don’t have a credit score to back you up, you’d want to supply every piece of relevant information to convince the lender to provide you with a loan. As an immigrant or visa holder, you will need to supply valid visas, work permits, and other documentation to prove you are legal in the U.S. and have the ability to repay the loan. Remember, the information you supply to the lenders will determine the loan offer you get. Some lenders may schedule a follow-up call to confirm the last few details before giving you a loan offer.
You will receive feedback from the lenders after submitting your applications. The period you will have to wait for feedback will depend on the lender. Some will supply feedback as soon as 24 hours of submitting your application. Some lenders may take longer.
If you qualify for the loan you applied for, the lender will provide you with a loan offer. Choose the cheapest loan option with the best loan terms. To accept the loan, you can sign the loan documents the lender provided and return the paperwork to the lender.
The loan will be disbursed within a certain period of time. The exact time will depend on the lender, but with some lenders, the money will show in your account as soon as 2-3 business days. This is good news since you want to secure your apartment asap.
After your loan has been disbursed, the only thing left to do is to start your repayments to your new lender. Most lenders provide an online autopay option. With autopay, your monthly repayments will automatically be deducted from your account. You won’t have to worry about a missed loan payment again!
4 Ways to Improve Your Chances for Approval on a Rental
There are other things landlords will look at apart from your credit score to determine whether they will give you a rental. If you’ve passed the credit score hurdle, you don’t want to get snagged on one of these. So here are a few additional tips to make sure you get your dream apartment:
- Be Organized
- Write a Cover Letter
- Offer to Pay More in Rent
- Keep a Positive Attitude
Read on to learn more about each of these ways to improve your chances for approval on a rental!
Being organized will not only create a good impression, but it will convince your prospective landlord of your trustworthiness and your professionalism. They want to know you can take care of their property and that you will actually remember to pay your rent. So, have your application documentation (like work permits, proof of income, and passport copies) readily available and be on time for your appointment!
Write a Cover Letter
Your application should have a cover letter explaining your situation and why you will be the best choice. A cover letter can provide additional information a normal application won’t. Remember, you are essentially selling yourself to the landlord. But don’t oversell! Write a succinct one-pager that would make you want to accept yourself.
Offer to Pay More in Rent
This should be your last resort as you don’t want to pay more unnecessarily. So, don’t offer it from the start. But, offer to pay more rent when things don’t seem to go your way. Or perhaps, when you really like a place. An extra $200 or more may change the owner’s mind.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Negativity won’t get you anywhere. Just because a few doors might close you have to stay positive and keep a good attitude. This will show when you present yourself to potential landlords and keep you energized in the process.
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