Finding a new apartment can be both exciting and stressful. Luckily, most people know well ahead of time that they will be moving so they can prepare. If you will be looking for a new place in the next six months, be sure to take these steps to help make the process go more smoothly. 

1. Start Saving for the Deposit

One of the biggest hurdles many people face when looking for an apartment is saving for the various upfront costs. Some places may require more or less, but in most cases, you will need to pay application fees, a security deposit and the first month’s rent before you even move in. Start saving a few months before you plan to start looking to make this easier. 

2. Find Out What Is on Your Background Check

Potential landlords will run a report with a consumer reporting agency to check your history in a number of areas. That may include employment records, payment history and a check for judgments or liens against you. In some cases, criminal records may also be pulled. Know what is on your reports before you submit applications and, if possible, take steps to correct any errors ahead of time. This way, you give yourself the best possible chance but, if you won’t pass the check, you haven’t wasted any resources on the process.   

3. Gather Financial Documents

You will need to document your income to a prospective landlord in almost every case. After all, they want to be sure you are likely and able to pay the rent every month. For many people, that is as simple as saving a couple of pay stubs or gathering last year’s taxes. However, others will find this step more difficult. For example, if a large portion of your income is from cash tips or if you are planning to use alimony or child support to cover rent costs, then you will need documentation of that money. 

4. Line Up Several References

Believe it or not, landlords do actually check references. So, you don’t just want to list a few of your friends and hope for the best. References should be able to speak to your ability to maintain a clean and well-ordered home, that you won’t destroy property and that you are likely to follow all of the appropriate rules in place. Always take the time to ask anyone you list if they are comfortable with that responsibility. They may not want you to give out private contact information.

Checking your background and credit reports, saving for a deposit and getting your paperwork in order will help streamline the apartment hunting process so you can move in quicker with less stress. 

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