Apartment Application Process: Secret Tips 2022

Before you sign your apartment lease, you have to go through the apartment application process and get approved for the place. It’s best to have all of the documents on hand before your tour.  In a city with lots of competition from other residents, you need to have your things in order to rent so other people don’t swoop in and take the last available apartment in the community you desired.

It’s more than just filling out paperwork. Sometimes you are competing against tenants and you want to make a great first impression with the landlord.  So before you go out looking for your next place to lease, check out our rental guide below.

6 Ways to Rent an Apartment for the First Time

Be sure and call ahead and make sure that the place will have a vacancy during your time frame. Also, make sure they will have a rental that suits your specific needs.  This will surely save you time in the long run. If you can, visit homes during the weekday. On the weekends, the communities can be slammed with people looking to secure their new rental.

Don’t forget to bring your identification with you. The leasing agents will ask for a driver’s license or another form of official ID before your tour. If you don’t have it, they won’t show you the unit in most cases. Also ask what their income requirements are for approval? Many pre-qualifying questions can certainly save you time before you visit the property in question. If the community is full, be sure and have another area in the city as backup.

Application Tips During Covid

Due to the Coronavirus the rental process has changed entirely. Many communities aren’t offering tours at all. Access to the property might be limited or you might not be able to view the amenities on-site. You might be able to make an appointment to view a unit by yourself without a leasing agent. If you cannot tour, then you will have to decide if you want the unit without viewing one. For example, Northern Home Virginia Pro, who specialize in the Halstead Metro Condos, recommends a virtual viewing, looking up the floor plan, and even searching the property address and using Google Street View to take a ‘walk’ through the neighborhood. 

  • Be sure and wear a mask
  • Have your identification with you.
  • You should know your social security number by heart.
  • Bring a form of payment for the security deposit. This means your checkbook. Apartments won’t take cash.
  • If you decide to apply, you probably will have to fill out an apartment application online
  • Ask about amenities off-site like restaurants and nearby grocery stores

Prove Your Income

You cannot get approved unless you can prove your income and you meet the minimum requirements. A tenant can provide pay stubs as proof or copies of tax returns. Be responsible and understand what you can afford in your budget. Renters can use these items below to prove income.

  • Bank Statements
  • Letter from your employer
  • W-2 Form

Have a CoSigner Ready

If you don’t have a credit score that is strong, or doesn’t have proof of employment, or you don’t meet the income requirements, it doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for the apartment. You just need a cosigner. This will mean having documentation.

A cosigner is someone who will make the rental payments if you cannot.  Usually, it’s a close family member. A cosigner must meet strict income requirements as well. They can certainly assist you increasing your chances of approval and the landlord will require their information.

Keep References On-Hand

Although all properties and landlords won’t require references, it’s best to have documentation and any items with you during the application process. Have a list of places that you have lived at is a start. You will need more information including contact information a phone number, and more.

Vehicle Registration and Insurance

Renters who have a car and intend on parking it in the community should be aware of the rules. Many apartments have limited parking on-site. Be sure and have a copy of your insurance on your vehicle. Many communities will tow cars they don’t belong in the lot.

Don’t be afraid to submit more than one application to rentals as you tour properties. It’s a good way to secure a great apartment special. You may lose money on the application fee but you will get to have the piece of mind nobody will take the apartment home away from you.

Running Your Credit

After you have completed the application and submitted the deposit, the apartment community will run start the credit checks. They will pull the credit report and begin looking at your history. Bad credit can certainly stall the process. A person who pays their bills on-time and doesn’t have high debt, should have a good credit score.

Reading the Lease Agreement

Hurray, you got approved! Don’t just sign the apartment lease. This is a legally binding agreement and a document you should not throw away. Once you sign the rental agreement, you must follow the terms or else! The lease will define everything you could possibly want and should know. It will define how much rent is and when the rent is due. It will also dictate what day your rent is late and what the late fees are. It will outline any rules about a pet living in the community and the cost for keeping one. Pets that cause damage will likely result in the renter losing their deposit. Furthermore, it will lay out the responsibilities of the tenant and how to contact the landlord for any repairs.

Want to know if you can sublease? This will also be defined in the residential lease. What we are getting at here, is be sure and read every word. If you have any questions, they should be directed to the property manager. The apartment application process can be a breeze if you know what to expect and are prepared. This should paint a picture that is more clear.

Here are some great resources to consider for your next search.


Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of background check do apartments do?

The vast majority of apartments are looking for felonies and misdemeanors. It's probably a good idea to tell them you have one before you apply. The services the apartments use are comprehensive and they will find the item on your background. They will also run a credit check. If you have something, they will find it.

How many times should i follow up after an application for an apartment?

I would wait at least 2 days before following up. Apartments have different time frames for processing applications. There are many reasons why this could be the case.

What is a normal time frame for hearing back from an application for an apartment?

1-2 days is normal. Some apartment communities can approve you within minutes. If the days drag on and you don't hear anything, usually that means something is wrong. 11 days is an insane amount of time to wait to just get approval.

How much should an apartment application fee be?

A rental application will have a fee that can range in the neighborhood of $45-$75 dollars. If it's over $100 you may want to ask why it's so much. Many apartments will refund the application fee based upon approval.