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3 Common Mistakes Renters Make



Post from MilitaryByOwner

Military renters don’t have it easy. Rental competition is fierce, and budgets are small. Add in a mad scramble to find a last-minute housing solution, the unknowns of searching for a home strictly online, and the unfamiliarity of the new location, and it’s simple to see there is plenty of room for error.

Preemptively arming yourself with strategies for successful renting is the best way to avoid common renter mistakes. Prepare for these pitfalls to avoid permanent change-of-station move stress.

Renter Mistake No. 1: You Don’t Know Your Budget

It’s common for renters to have an exciting wish list in mind (especially first-time renters) when shopping for a new home. Must-haves usually include a prime location, a set amount of square footage, and high-end furnishing and amenities. But these qualities frequently preclude financial realities.

Most military members start calculating what is affordable rent from their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) each month, which is a decent place to start. But this amount doesn’t reflect all of the concerns a housing budget entails. An overall view of your other debts and savings plans should factor into how much rent you can afford each month.

There are multiple ways to calculate how much money you should pay for rent, but the 30% rule (meaning spending up to 30% of your gross salary) is a traditional budget standard. However, it’s not always feasible in a military town.

Lifestyle specifics will come into play during your budget calculations. For example, although you earn $2,000 per month in BAH, this could be a low number in a high cost-of-living city. Or it’s possible an apartment at this price point is over the top, especially if work travel is expected and you won’t be present often enough to enjoy the shiny new gym or common area.

More Budget Factors to Consider

  • Renters’ insurance is a nominal annual purchase, about several hundred dollars per year. The coverage is important since your homeowner or property management company likely has coverage only for the building, not your personal belongings, in the event of a flood, fire or the presence of mold.
  • If you have bad credit, a rental home search can be difficult. Not only will property owners be hesitant to take a chance on the likelihood you’ll pay on time each month, but they may also require higher rent rates and deposits to alleviate the risk they’re taking. A correct and improved credit report helps your chances of finding an affordable rental home you love.

Renter Mistake No. 2: You Don’t Read the Lease

It’s true: Rental agreements are tedious and jargon-laden, and the language can vary from state to state. These are just a few of the reasons why renters don’t want to pore over the details. But, an unread and unexplained rental agreement is one of the leading causes of a strained landlord/tenant relationship. Clear communication between both signers alleviates the chances of a stressful lease term.

Here are a few situations beyond typical lease questions to discuss and clearly identify within the rental agreement before signing.

  • Will you need a military clause? Both parties are required by law to abide by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, but a military clause defines scenarios beyond the SCRA, including the unforeseen availability of military housing, unexpected orders to a nearby installation (out of the protection of the SCRA), or a reverse military clause that states the owner may break the lease terms and return home early.
  • If not delivered, ask for a detailed move-in and move-out walkthrough list that documents the condition and damages of the home before moving in to protect your security deposits. Define what your property manager thinks is “normal wear and tear.” Keep copies of pictures and signed off statements about the conditions of the move-in and -out.
  • Verbal agreements that discuss future improvements, such as a fenced yard or new appliances, should be notated in the lease with agreed-upon due dates.
  • Are you paying a pet fee, pet rent or a pet deposit? They are different. Pet fees and rent will not be returned after the lease ends, but some or all of the pet deposit could be returned. Talk with your homeowner as to which circumstances allow for a full refund.
  • Outline the parameters of when and how a landlord will visit. Is it monthly, without notice? Or is it random, when the owner decides to come to town? What happens when the property is advertised before you depart? Are you in charge of the showings for future renters? The variations depend on what the landlord and tenant agree to document in the lease.

Renter Mistake No. 3: You Don’t Research the Location

After finding the perfect, affordable rental, especially if the search has been difficult, it’s easy to forget the importance of the physical location of the property. Crime statistics and noisy neighbors are a couple of big factors, but there are others.

Families who prefer public schools are often surprised to find out the school their home is zoned for is different than expected. Your landlord may have been unaware of recent district changes and misinformed you. Start directly with the district’s zoning or boundary locator tool to avoid disappointment.

Driving by the house at different times during the day shares insight into various traffic patterns from commuters, school buses and other unknowns. For instance, will your driveway be blocked by parents picking up kids from school each day from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m.?

Each neighborhood has a personality. A little online and in-person research details how the community functions. Do they take care of their pets? Is it a street where kids play freely? Are most neighbors older or younger? Are they quiet or boisterous? Is walkability important? Determine which lifestyle factors are deal breakers before signing the lease.

A rental home search is stressful and requires plenty of planning and preparation to avoid common mistakes. Although the perfect combination of price, amenities and location is hard to find in a rental home, learning to avoid painful tenant agreements will protect you from disappointment and financial loss.

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Virginia Used Car Dealer Offers Local Drivers Reliable Pre-Owned Vehicles and Affordable Prices



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Used Cars Under $10,000 in Virginia

Karen Radley Volkswagen is offering local drivers a variety of used vehicles to choose from that are priced under $10,000, including capable SUV’s, versatile crossovers, fuel-efficient sedans and sporty coupes.

There are many ways for people to save money when shopping for the things they need and can’t live without. For many people, a vehicle that can offer them the reliability they need is incredibly important and something they require every day. Drivers in Virginia that are searching for affordable used cars under $10,000 now have a dealership they can turn to that will help them get behind the wheel of a reliable vehicle they can afford. Karen Radley Volkswagen is offering local drivers a variety of used vehicles to choose from that are priced under $10,000, including capable SUV’s, versatile crossovers, fuel-efficient sedans and sporty coupes.

With used car specials that offer affordable pricing and a large inventory of pre-owned vehicles that can be purchased for under $10,000, drivers will be able to find the vehicle they’ve always wanted to drive at a price that fits their budget. Karen Radley Volkswagen also helps make buying a reliable and budget-friendly used car easy by offering used car loans to drivers regardless of their credit score. Good or bad credit car loans are fast and easy to obtain and apply for when shopping at Karen Radley Volkswagen.

To learn more about how to get behind the wheel of an affordable used car in Virginia, or to view the current inventory of used cars under $10,000, drivers can visit the local dealership’s website by going to Questions can be directed towards the sales staff by calling 833-243-5895. Shoppers may also see all the used cars at Karen Radley Volkswagen by driving to 14700 Jefferson Davis Highway.

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Legislation to Combat Unfair Auto Insurance Rates Clears Committee



Legislation to Combat Unfair Auto Insurance Rates Clears Committee


Trenton – In response to high automobile insurance assessments, the Senate Commerce Committee passed legislation sponsored by Senators Nia Gill, M. Teresa Ruiz, Nilsa Cruz-Perez, and Nellie Pou, which would prohibit the use of education, occupation, homeownership status, marital status, or credit score in certain automobile insurance determinations.


“The use of factors such as employment status and credit score in calculating insurance premiums carries a severe economic consequence for working-class families. A person’s income or education has no bearing on driver safety or risk and only serves to reinforce existing inequalities,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “The pandemic has given new importance to how we determine eligibility. Millions of New Jerseyans are experiencing economic hardship; this will inevitably impact their credit scores, occupation, and employment status. This bill is critical to ensure people are not subject to increased premiums based on metrics that have nothing to do with driving, and it will ensure drivers are not subject to increased premiums based on unforeseeable consequences of the pandemic.”


The bill, S-111, would prohibit automobile insurers from assigning an insured or prospective insured person to a rating tier based on educational level, credit score, marital status, homeownership status, or employment, trade, business, occupation or profession.


“Newark has some of the highest car insurance rates in the country. Under our current laws car insurance companies are preying on New Jersey’s most vulnerable, charging low income customers significantly more regardless of their driving history. Every sponsor has done tremendous legwork to bring an end to this harmful practice. I am proud to have been a driving force in the final push to move this important legislation and to ensure it included prohibiting the use of credit scores,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Insurers should be basing their rates on the likelihood that someone will be in an accident, not his or her ability to pay for those damages out of pocket.”


“It is absurd that someone with a bad credit score pays more for car insurance than someone who has been convicted of a DUI,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We cannot allow insurers to continue basing rates on credit history or socioeconomic status rather than someone’s driving record.”


“We must stop penalizing people for being poor,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This legislation will hold insurance companies accountable and help to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are given fair pricing for policies that are a requirement to drive.”


The bill would take effect 90 days after enactment.

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Reasons You Can Be Denied for a Bad Credit Auto Loan



Everyone’s situation varies, but there are some circumstances that bad credit auto lenders simply don’t accept. To give you an idea of what to expect when you apply for a car loan, here’s what subprime lenders tend to require and what situations they don’t accept when determining your eligibility for auto financing.

Job Situations and Bad Credit Car Loans

First, it’s important to note that all lenders have different work, income, and even residency requirements. However, if you’re applying with a bad credit car lender, also known as a subprime lender, they tend to follow similar guidelines for who they’re willing to approve for auto financing.

When it comes to your work situation and what type of income you’re bringing in each month, there are some situations that subprime lenders simply don’t accept.

No Income at All

If you’re not bringing in any income from a job or any other type of assistance, expect to be turned down. Any car lender, bad credit or not, is going to need you to provide proof that you have a stable income.

Some subprime lenders can accept income such as alimony, permanent disability, pension, and even public assistance – if you can prove that you’re going to receive it for the entire duration of your auto loan term, that is.

To get into a car loan, you must have provable, consistent income that can support the auto loan the whole time you’re repaying it.

Sparse Work History

This requirement can vary, but borrowers who haven’t held down the same job for around six months to a year can often be turned down for a car loan. Auto lenders typically also require you to have consistent work history over the last three years.

Subprime lenders look for stability in your work history and employment. The longer you’ve held the same job in the same line of work, the higher your chances of getting approved for a car loan.

Brand-New Job

If you just started a job in a new field, then a subprime lender may be hesitant to approve you for financing. Subprime lenders prefer borrowers who’ve been at the same job for at least six months to a year.

However, if you recently switched employers but it’s in the same line of work, then they’re more likely to be understanding of that situation.

Living Situations and Bad Credit Auto Loans

Situations That Can Deny You a Bad Credit Car LoanAlong with having work and income requirements, subprime lenders also take a look at your residence history. While living situations can vary greatly, they are again looking for stability.

A stable borrower is one that is more likely to repay their auto loan. So, the longer you’ve been living in the same area, the higher your chances for an approval. However, just because you’ve lived in the same town for 20 years doesn’t always mean you meet the residency requirements.

Here are a few living situations that subprime lenders probably won’t accept:

You’re Not a Homeowner or a Renter

To meet residency requirements, most subprime lenders require that you’re a homeowner or a renter. If you’re a homeowner, you must prove your residency with a recent utility bill in your name, or maybe even a home title in your name if you don’t have any utilities in your name.

If you’re a renter, then your name must be on the lease. You should also expect to need a recent utility bill in your name to prove your residence. Some lenders may even require a copy of a lease agreement, a mortgage statement, or a copy of a house payment/rent check.

However, if you live with relatives or you live at an apartment where your name isn’t on the lease, then it could be more difficult to qualify for a car loan. Subprime lenders require that their borrowers have a permanent address, with documents that prove that you live there. If you don’t have any utilities in your name, or your name isn’t on a lease or mortgage statement, then you could run into trouble getting approved for auto financing.

You Don’t Have a Permanent Address

Some people live in RVs, or even hotels, to accommodate a nomadic lifestyle. While having the flexibility to move wherever you’d like at the drop of a hat suits many people, the sad news is that these unconventional ways of life aren’t likely to meet the requirements of a car lender. Since your address isn’t permanent, it can make a subprime lender hesitant to approve you for financing.

Other Requirements of Subprime Lenders

There could be many different reasons why a lender can deny you for an auto loan. To help you be best prepared, here’s a list of other common requirements of subprime lenders:

  • Must have a cell phone or landline phone in your name (no prepaid phones)
  • Have to make a down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price
  • Bring a list of five to eight personal references with complete contact information
  • Must have a valid driver’s license with your current address

Subprime Lenders and Bad Credit Car Dealerships

If your credit is worse for wear, you’re likely to have a better chance of getting approved for a car loan if you apply with a subprime auto lender, since they consider more than just your poor credit score while they determine your eligibility for a car loan.

Where are subprime lenders? They’re signed up with special finance dealerships, and they are more prominent nowadays. Here at Auto Credit Express, we know what dealers are signed up with subprime lenders, and we can look for one in your area at no cost.

Fill out our free auto loan request form, and we’ll get right to work looking for a dealership near you with the bad credit lending resources you need.

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