Apartment Application Process: Secret Tips 2021

Before you sign your apartment lease, you have to go through the application process and get approved. It’s best to have all of the documents on hand before your tour.  In a competitive rental market, you need to have everything to rent so another renters doesn’t swoop in and take the residence you wanted.

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 pad to lease check out our rental guide below.

Quick Rental tip:

Be sure and call ahead and make sure that the property will have a vacancy during your time frame. Also, make sure they will have the appropriate number of bedrooms.  This will surely save you time in the long run. If you can, visit apartment homes during the weekday. On the weekends, the communities can be slammed with would be renters looking to secure their new pad.

Don’t forget to bring identification with you. The leasing agents will ask for a driver’s license or other 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.

Application Tips During Covid

Due to the Coronavirus the rental process has changed entirely. Many communities aren’t offering tours at all. 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, recommend 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
  • Bring a form of payment for the security deposit.
  • If you decide to apply, you probably will have to fill out an apartment application online

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. But there are other options as well.

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

Have a Co-Signer Ready

If you don’t have strong credit, don’t have a job, or you don’t meet the income requirements, it doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for the apartment. You just need a co-signer.

A co-signer is someone who will make the rental payments if you cannot.  Usually it’s a close family member. A co-signer 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 won’t require references, it’s best to have these with you during the application process.

Don’t be afraid to submit more than one application. It’s a good way to hold 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.

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. Bringing a pet with you? The fees will be in the lease as well. Furthermore, it will lay out the responsibilities of the tenant.

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. Don’t just sign on the dotted line. If you have any questions, these should be directed to the leasing agents.

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.