You found your dream apartment, applied, and are ready to move in immediately. But, before you do, you still need to get approved. And that can be a tense wait, even if you’re incredibly patient. So, how long does it take to get approved for an apartment?
Find out what you should expect, and what you can do to get approved for an apartment faster.
How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Approved?
We know you’re anxiously waiting for your potential future landlord to respond. But how long it takes to get approved for an apartment depends on a variety of factors.
Most notably, on the complex, landlord, and season.
The demand for rentals usually slows down during the winter months, and you may hear back sooner. Late summer and fall are busier renting seasons in Chicago. Potential landlords may have dozens of applications to look through before deciding.
However, landlords will usually let you know about your application within one to three days.
However, there are ways that can help you speed the process along. Here are a few tips that could help you get approved for an apartment quickly.
8 Tips to Get Approved for an Apartment Faster
1. Get Laser Focused
Apartment applications are straightforward, but they do require attention to detail.
Make sure you complete every section of the application as thoroughly as possible. The more detail you can add to any questions, the better.
2. Have Your Documents Ready
The landlord or property manager needs documentation to verify you’re an ideal tenant. Bring along your:
- Driver’s license or passport
- Social security card
- Recent pay stubs or letter of employment
- Bank statements
- Consider bringing a tax return if you’re self-employed
- Letters of recommendation from past landlords will go a long way in your apartment application
While you may not need all of these documents to rent an apartment, it may inspire whoever approves you to work faster. After all, landlords love a well-prepared and detail-oriented tenant.
3. Think About Your Background Check
It’s normal for landlords to use background checks before choosing a renter. Legal convictions and pending charges also appear on background checks and could pose a red flag.
If you’re worried about what a landlord will think, keep in mind previous legal issues aren’t always a deal-breaker.
Explain anything in advance to your future landlord. If it’s an old conviction and you explain the context of what happened and how it’s a thing of the past, they may overlook the problem.
It’s best to be upfront about any issues that may come up in a background check. Your honesty won’t just increase your chances of being approved, it may also make the approval process faster when you apply to rent an apartment.
4. Consider Your Credit Score
Your credit score is an integral part of how long does it take to get approved for an apartment. You can check it for free once a year with the three major reporting bureaus.
If it’s low or you have a spotty financial history, talk to the landlord or property manager in advance. Ask them what you can do to help your application get accepted despite the spotty history. They’ll advise whether adding a guarantor or paying a larger deposit would be helpful.
You can offer your current banking statements to show you are financially responsible. Remember to bring along any vacated judgments or resolution letters from debt collectors.
A vacated judgment could include an outstanding debt to the IRS that a CPA helped you resolve. Or, you may have a letter from a debt collector stating you paid off your bill.
It’s helpful to provide any documentation possible to show the landlord you resolved the problem.
5. Offer References
What if you’re new to apartment living and don’t have a rental history?
What if your background check and credit scores are problematic?
Bring plenty of references to give potential landlords peace of mind. You can ask employers, colleagues, and organizations you’ve volunteered with for written references.
And if references aren’t enough, consider getting a guarantor.
6. Know If You Need a Cosigner or Guarantor
It’s common practice for a landlord to require a cosigner or guarantor if you lack credit history or have a poor credit score.
You may also need a cosigner or guarantor if you don’t meet the financial requirements for renting the apartment.
A cosigner serves as an additional renter who’s responsible for part of the rent. They usually live in the apartment or have legal access to it. However, it’s more common for landlords to require a guarantor.
A guarantor assumes legal responsibility for your rent if you don’t pay, but they don’t have rights to live in the apartment. Guarantors are usually family members willing to go to bat for you financially.
Choose your guarantor wisely because they will also undergo a credit check. You also don’t want to burn bridges with a trustworthy guarantor if you can’t make the rent.
7. Prompt Your Roommate to Take Quick Action
How long does it take to get approved for an apartment also depends on any roommates involved.
They will also need to go through the apartment application process. Remind them they also need to prepare and have all their documents and information ready to go.
It’s also wise to ask if they think there will be an issue with their application. For example, if they know they have a poor credit score, they should have a guarantor ready to sign the lease with them.
8. Keep Your Phone Handy
Your landlord or leasing agent may reach out to you for more information. And if you take your time to reply to their email or text, you’re making the approval process longer.
Keep your phone charged up and handy to answer calls from landlords. After all, they should let you know within a few days about the status. If they can’t reach you, they could end up moving on to quickly fill the apartment.
What Can Delay Getting Approved for an Apartment?
Despite being well-organized, there are still things that can delay getting approved for an apartment.
Overlooking any part of the apartment application will add time to the process. Or, the landlord may need more information or revised documents in order to properly screen your application.
Applying for an apartment before a bank holiday could also result in a brief delay. There’s not much to do but wait it out. You can always ask the landlord if their office closes for the holiday weekend.
When Should I Follow Up?
Even if it takes longer than 3 days to get approved for an apartment, you need to stay patient.
The last thing you want to do is pressure the landlord to give you an answer.
However, if you haven’t heard from them in two weeks, you should send them a message to check in.
Find an Apartment and Get Approved Faster with Brixbid
Waiting to get approved for an apartment can be annoying at best, anxiety-inducing at worst. And the faster it takes, the better, right?
At Brixbid, we couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly why we have built-in background checks and approvals when you’re renting an apartment.
And that can significantly speed up the process.
You can do everything from browsing listings to signing the lease on Brixbid. You can even negotiate your rent with Brixbid.
Ready to rent an apartment without worrying about the approval time? Explore our listings today!