If you are a current, or future, college student then you will most likely be renting the place you will be living in while attending school. The process of finding a place to live should be pretty easy. It would seem that a simple search for suitable places, possible roommates, and making sure you have enough to pay rent each month are about all that goes into it. But is there more?
Your Credit Score
When you rent a house, condo, or an apartment the landlord views that piece of property as an investment. They want to get a return on what they spent to build and maintain it in the form of rent. So they will most likely run a credit check on any potential tenants to make sure they are trustworthy enough to pay rent each month. If you have little to no credit, or bad credit, then there are a view options that you have to avoid problems that may come up when it is time to sign your lease.
- Get a co-signer.
The last thing you want to do when venturing out on your own is go back to your parents to ask them for something. But if you have no credit then you may need them to co-sign your lease for you. This will give the landlord someone who is credit trustworthy to fall back on if you fail to pay rent.
- Get a roommate with good credit.
If you are going to be living with a roommate hopefully it is someone that you are close enough with that you could ask them to sign for you, sort of the same way a co-signer would. If possible, it would be smart to make sure that your name is on the lease somewhere, that way you can start establishing credit by paying rent on time each month.
- Offer a large down payment.
If you are fortunate enough to have a decent amount of cash on hand then you could offer the landlord a large down payment and they might accept that despite your current credit situation.
- Work on improving your credit score.
There are a handful of ways to establish, or improve your credit. If you have the time go ahead and get to work on improving your credit score so that the process of signing a lease will be simple and easy.
How to Improve Your Credit Score
There are many ways that you can work to improve your credit score. You can take out a loan of some kind, and make regular payments on time and then your credit score will start to increase. This is not usually an option that many college students can take advantage of, so the best option would be to get a credit card.
When you spend with a credit card you are essentially borrowing money to make your purchase and then paying it back at the end of your monthly billing cycle. Over time, by making your payments on time, and hopefully in full to avoid interest, you will start to establish a credit history that will show future landlords that you are a trustworthy tenant. As long as you spend and repay responsibly, then a credit card is the cheapest, most simple, and easiest way to get your credit score to the level you want.
When you apply for a credit card you have to go through another approval process. Being a student with no credit history this may seem like another dead end, but there are student credit cards available for college students in this exact position. The Capital One Journey Card is a great example of a student credit card that is geared towards getting college students approved and giving them the tools and knowledge to use credit responsible and improve their credit score. You can also check what credit offers are being targeted towards you by using the free and secure CardMatch program to see if you have any other options. Some of these cards many even come with a signup bonus just for getting the card.
Now that you know how your credit score will come into play when looking to rent a place while attending college, you can get to work on your options. Even if you know that you will have a co-signer, or have enough money to put down a large deposit, it is still a good idea to start working on improving your personal credit score. A student credit card is your best bet on doing this. As long as you make sure to stay well below your credit limit and make your payments on time then your credit score might be up there with some of the best grades you get all semester.
This article was provided by Matthew Coan, owner of the credit card comparison website casavvy.com.