Your Money Matters: Renting with a less than stellar credit score

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Al Goldstein
Pangea Properties


Set a Budget:
First and foremost, setting a budget will help determine what a realistic and affordable rent range will be.  Ideally, your monthly income should be three times higher than your monthly rent.  Setting a budget will also outline how much money may be set aside for settling debts to raise your credit score.

Examine Your Credit Report:
If your credit report shows that you have accounts recently past due, get them current as soon as possible.  This simple correction can get place you in a better position in as little as 30 days.  Also, deciphering the type of debts you have (i.e. student loans, medical bills) can have an impact as the landlord may be willing to give the benefit of the doubt for certain types of debts.

Look for a Landlord That Understands Your Market:
Search for an apartment where the management is more likely to understand that your credit score is not indicative of your ability to pay rent.  Certain management companies specialize in affordable housing and have a proven track record of working with residents who have less than stellar credit scores.

Call Creditors:
Rather then letting the phone calls continue, reach out to creditors regarding your upcoming payments.  If you know you are unable to make the full payment but can start digging yourself out of the hole with smaller increments, the creditors are likely to take up the offer.  After all, it is in their favor to receive something over nothing in bankruptcy court.

Obtain Settlement Letters:
Once you have paid off a debt, make sure you receive a settlement letter.  Send a copy to credit bureaus so they may update your credit report immediately.  Not only will this boost your credit score, the letter may also act as an interim measure during the apartment screening process.

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