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How to rent an apartment with bad credit, meaning a 300-579 score

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  • If you have bad or poor credit, i.e. a score somewhere between 300 and 579, you may have trouble renting an apartment if you live in a city where credit checks are a part of the rental process.
  • There are a few things you can do to rent an apartment with bad credit, including paying more up front, finding a co-signer, and showing proof of stable employment that pays well.
  • Sometimes, though, you may just have to work on improving your credit score and wait to move until you’ve raised it.
  • Get help improving your credit score with CreditRepair.com »

Whether you’re a new US immigrant with no credit or you got into some credit card debt when you were young, low credit scores happen. Unfortunately, having less-than-stellar credit may make it more difficult to get the keys to an apartment if you live in a city where credit scores are part of the rental equation. 

If you have bad or poor credit — somewhere between 300 and 579 — it’s not impossible to rent an apartment, it just might take a little more work on your part. 

How to rent an apartment with bad credit

1. Check your credit score

It’s best to know what you’re getting into before having a potential landlord deny your apartment application because of your credit score. To check your credit score for free, use Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, Credit.com, or FreeCreditReport.com.

2. Look for apartments that don’t require credit checks

Although you’ll likely have fewer options if you go this route, it may be possible to find some listings on places like Craigslist that specifically say whether or not a credit check is required. You’ll want to ensure everything is above-board with places that don’t run credit checks (as you would with any place you’re about to rent), and that there is an actual lease you’ll be signing that makes sense for all parties involved.

3. Be prepared to pay more up front

Just because you have less-than-perfect credit doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be denied an application. You should just be prepared to (or offer to, if you really want the place) pay a little more up front by way of an increased security deposit or a few months’ rent ahead of time to ease any of the landlord’s concerns.

Need help improving your credit score? Visit CreditRepair.com today »

4. Get yourself a co-signer

Some cities require a co-signer for apartments if you don’t make above a certain income based on the monthly rent charged. But even if your apartment doesn’t require it, getting a co-signer could be the answer to your apartment problems. 

A co-signer signs a legal document stating that if you miss a payment, they will be liable to make those payments in your place. This means that any co-signer you get should be someone you trust, and who trusts you, since their credit could be negatively impacted by any mistakes you make with your rent.

5. Prove your worth

Showing up prepared is a great way to impress upon landlords that you are serious about your rental application, even if you don’t quite have the credit to back it up. 

Bring some recent financial documents to prove your income for the past few months — especially if you make a good salary — and consider getting some letters of recommendation as well. If you can get letters from a previous landlord stating that you were reliable and dependable, that could work wonders.

6. Sign a lease with someone else

Again, this requires a bit of trust, but if you would be okay with getting an apartment with a roommate — and you can find someone who wants to live with you — you could have the application run with your roommate’s credit score, then you could make your rent payments directly to him or her. This won’t work in every situation, though, since some landlords require all occupants to be on the lease.

7. Offer some concessions

Especially if the apartment has been on the market for a while and the landlord is hoping to rent it out quickly, you might be able to make some negotiations within the lease that make you more desirable as an applicant, despite your low credit. 

For example, you could offer to set up automatic payments so the landlord wouldn’t ever have to chase you down for rent.

8. Brag about your savings account

It might help to prove that you’re responsible in other areas of your personal finance, even if you haven’t managed to nab an enviable credit score just yet. For example, if you have enough money in a rainy-day fund to cover a couple months’ worth of rent, be sure to bring those statements as back-up to prove you have the means to pay.

9. Consider waiting

If, at the end of the day, you don’t want to do any of the above, you could always wait to find the apartment of your dreams until you’re able to raise your score. There are plenty of ways to go about raising your score, including  paying down debts, keeping your credit-card balances low, and becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account. 

See how CreditRepair.com can help you boost your credit score today »

Related coverage from How to Do Everything: Money

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Bad Credit

New program to help Black-owned online businesses | Technology

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ATLANTA _ Many Black entrepreneurs struggle to get bank loans and professional help to launch new businesses. A new program aims to remove those stumbling blocks.

An Atlanta nonprofit and another business have committed $150 million to the 1 Million Black Businesses effort, which will make loans and provide financial and business advice to Black-owned startups and established small businesses. Atlanta-based nonprofit Operation Hope, which helps consumers improve credit scores, is kicking in $20 million, and Shopify, the online e-commerce is adding another $130 million for the loans and website-hosting services.

Other services firms providing expertise or help include Aprio, an Atlanta-based accounting firm, and First Horizon Bank.

It’s a package of products that many Black entrepreneurs couldn’t get through a bank or credit union, said John Hope Bryant, CEO of Operation Hope.

“A bank won’t lend you money unless you can prove that you don’t need it,” Bryant said. “That’s especially true with minority-owned small businesses.”

Small businesses with Black owners were half as likely to obtain business loans as whites, according to a Federal Reserve survey published earlier this year.

The initiative is the latest effort to help Black consumers and businesses enter the financial mainstream. Earlier this month, a group that includes rapper Killer Mike opened a digital bank aimed at Black and Latino consumers.

Banks and credit unions have tried for years to help Black consumers open checking and savings accounts. The efforts helped, as the number of U.S. households without bank accounts fell to 5.4% in 2019 from 6.5% in 2017, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Monday.

Consumers who own checking and savings accounts typically have access loans with better rates and a wider variety of financial services.

The federal government’s $660 billion loan initiative for businesses hit by COVID-19, the Paycheck Protection Program, also helped few Black-owned businesses, Bryant said. PPP loans were based on a company’s number of employees and its rent obligations. many Black-owned small businesses typically didn’t have enough workers to qualify and are based out of the owner’s residence.

Bryant said a bad credit history may not prevent applicants from receiving a loan.

He hopes more companies will contribute services such as insurance advice or software typically available only to well-established businesses.

Bryant noted that 1MBB is not a charitable organization, as participating companies like Shopify will likely get a pipeline of new business customers through the program.

“This is not pure philanthropy,” he said. “Shopify believes that Black-owned businesses are good businesses if they’re properly supported.”

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This Week’s Top Car Deals & Analysis – October 30, 2020

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The final days of October offer a chance to take advantage of outstanding model year-end deals. Most offers end November 2, which means there isn’t much time left to enjoy this month’s best lease deals and deepest new car discounts. We even found incentives that can help those with bad credit buy a new or used car.

2021 car deals. Interestingly, 2021 new car incentives are showing some surprises. For example, Audi is already offering up to $12,000 in savings when leasing the 2021 e-tron all-electric crossover. We even learned that the new Genesis GV80 SUV will debut with a $589/month lease deal plus special financing rates.

Believe it or not, the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N could prove to be a great value despite a nearly $4,700 price increase compared to the previous year. That’s because our analysis finds that better incentives can make it just $10/month more expensive to lease than the 2020 model. Talk about getting more for your money.

Why are small cars bad to lease? Even though smaller cars typically come with lower price tags, that isn’t always the case when leasing. A mix of lower discounts, worse residual values, and smaller discounts can actually make a Nissan Altima cheaper than a Versa despite having an almost $10,000 difference in MSRP.

Shorter-mileage leases. More brands are offering shorter mileage allowances on car leases. Although this is typically used to offer consumers more flexibility, we’ve found cases in which you can end up getting less for your money. If you don’t read all the fine print, this could make comparison-shopping difficult.

Bad credit car deals. If you have subprime credit, you may find it harder to get financed. However, some manufacturers are offering special incentives to help make cars & trucks more affordable. For example, Chevy is offering $2,000 in down payment assistance plus 9.9% APR for 72 months on the 2020 Trax.

$0 down leases. If you’re adamant about now putting down any money on a lease, you’ll love Sign & Drive leases. In addition to requiring no money down, $0 down lease deals can cover your first month’s payment. Even hot sellers like the Honda CR-V Hybrid offer $0 down and as little as $330/month on a lease.

The high cost of safety? Even though most major automakers are offering more safety features than ever before, our analysis finds that the highest IIHS safety ratings still require costly options in 2020. That’s starting to change, but the cost of buying a car with the most bragging rights is still very high.

Disaster relief. Those affected by some of this year’s natural disasters should be aware that automakers are offering assistance. California wildfire assistance programs like Ford Employee Pricing can save thousands when replacing a car. Similarly, a 2020 hurricane relief program from GM offers $1,000 in savings.

Spooky loan situations. There are some scary scenarios you can avoid when getting a car loan. However, boosting your credit score is possible with some determination because negative items on your credit report fall off after 7 years. Our network of dealers is specially equipped to help those with bad credit.

Upcoming vehicles. Genesis finally revealed the new GV70, a small luxury crossover based on the highly-rated G70 sedan. Whether it’s a redesigned car, truck, or SUV, odds are you’ll find it on our Previews page. That said, as we reported last week, discounts ahead of a redesign can result in substantial savings.

This Month’s Cheapest Lease Deals »



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Why bad credit doesn’t have to be a life sentence

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No matter if they’re bad or good, credit scores affect everyone’s lives.

Still, for many people, by the time they’ve learned the importance of having good credit, it may be too late.

“If you’ve had late payments, it would take 24 months of on-time payments to rectify the situation,” Jax Federal Credit Union Interim President Mary Svoboda said.

Svoboda said paying someone who claims they can fix your credit quickly is a waste of money.

“It can cost you several hundred dollars, and you can do it yourself,” she said.

Svoboda says those quick-fix businesses check your credit report for discrepancies and then dispute them. She explains how you can do it on your own instead.

“Check your credit report,” she said. “If there is something, it’s very easy to dispute it directly with the lender or through the online process with the credit bureaus. So you don’t need to pay for that.”

If there is any silver lining from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that all three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and Transunion — allow anyone to check their credit every week without any penalties. Before, you could only do that three times a year.

Svoboda added that Experian now offers a credit boosting service that is free and can help boost your score.

“The credit report would be linked up to your bank account and through your bank account they could see you have regular deposits and you pay your utility bill and your mobile bill on time, things like that,” she said.

Svoboda said some of the most common pitfalls she sees when it comes to credit is people have too many credit cards. She said that should be avoided when you start building credit.

“Sometimes it’s horrible, you see people that have 20 or 30 credit cards, so that is not a good idea,” she said.

That should all be avoided when you start building credit.

If you want to build credit but need some help living within your means, Svoboda recommends getting what’s called a secured credit card. It’s like a debit card in that you can only spend what’s in your account. But unlike a debit card, a secured credit card builds credit.

What if you’re taking steps to fix your credit but can’t wait and need a loan now?

“Right now, what I would encourage someone to do is if you don’t really have any credit, bring me your bank statements and show me, ‘Look at this. I have made a $600 rent payment for the first of the month for a year.’ I’ll say, ‘Let’s do this loan,’” Svoboda said.

While you’re rebuilding your credit score, Svoboda says you should care about it, make it important, and check it. Because a bad credit score doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

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Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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