Credit scores are a factor that most — if not all — landlords consider when reviewing tenants’ applications for apartments. But the exact score needed to rent off campus housing near GVSU may be different from the rating required for other types of housing in Allendale.
By knowing the basic range of acceptable credit scores for renters, as well as ways to improve and/or maintain your score, you can be assured to get your desired apartment. 48 West presents a renters’ guide to credit scores.
What Is A Credit Score?
A credit score or FICO score is the number used by financial institutions, such as banks, to determine a person’s creditworthiness. Created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, in 1956, the score is a reflection of a person’s debt repayment over time.
How Is My Credit Score Used As A Renter?
A credit score is used as a predictor of the renter’s ability to pay the monthly installments during the duration of the housing contract for furnished apartments in Allendale. Generally, the higher a credit score, the more financially responsible the tenant. This translates to a lower risk for the landlord or property manager.
What’s A Good Credit Score For Renting An Apartment?
Credit scores range from 300 to 850. The average renter’s credit score according to RentPrep is 649. If your credit score is 650 or more, you’re likely to be an attractive candidate to landlords and property managers.
Having a worse-than-average score of below 649, meanwhile, may disqualify you in a competitive rental market, such as the market for GVSU off campus housing. But students with low scores have options outside of a credit score.
At 48 West, we accept co-signers. These are sponsors, usually parents or guardians, who sign a document guaranteeing payment on their students’ monthly installment payments and fees for the entire housing contract term.
What Affects My Credit Score?
A credit score is determined by five factors, which include payment history, credit utilization, credit history, new credit applications, and types of current debt.
1. Payment History
Each bill or expense you have includes a specified payment date. Your ability to make these payments in full and on time is often referred to as the payment history. The payment history is typically the factor from which a credit score is most affected — it makes up 35 percent of the total score.
2. Credit Utilization
This factor is the total amount of debt used compared to the total approved amount, but it generally focuses on revolving credit, such as with a credit card. It’s recommended to keep credit utilization to 30 percent or less, which is also the weight given to its credit score impact.
3. Credit History
Credit history is determined by the length of time an individual account is reported as open. Credit age, another term used in this part of the report, is calculated as the average age of all open accounts. Your credit history accounts for 15 percent of the overall credit score.
4. New Credit Applications
Each time you apply for a new line of credit, whether for a credit card or student loan, you must fill out a credit application. Thereafter, the potential lender reviews your credit history through credit bureaus. While new credit applications only have a 10 percent impact on an overall credit score, a large number of inquiries in a short amount of time is commonly considered a lending risk.
5. Current Debt
What type of current debt a renter has accounts for 10 percent of the total credit score. Installment debt, open debt, and revolving debt are the three most common types.
This type of debt is common with car loans and mortgages, for example. Installment debt features recurring payments that together comprise the total debt amount. These payments are typically due at the same time each month until the final payment is made.
Open debt is rarely found on credit reports, but this type has no credit limit and the balance is paid in full each billing cycle.
This type of debt is most common with credit and retail store cards. The current due balance determines the monthly payment owed each month based on activity and current interest rate. The unpaid balance then rolls over to the next month until the full amount is paid.
3 Tips To Boost Your Credit Score
Pay All Your Bills On Time
All bills — car payments, cell phone bills, and utility bills, for example — affect your credit score. Most everyday bills aren’t reported to the credit bureaus if they’re paid on time and in full. But partial and/or late payments may be reported to creditors, particularly if the debt is sent to a collector for payment. At this point, your credit score can become affected as well as your ability to rent Allendale apartments in the future.
Keep Any Credit Balance Low
It’s recommended to pay off a credit card in full every month. Of course, if this isn’t possible, try keeping the outstanding balance as low as possible. This is especially important for revolving credit, such as credit cards. A high balance will affect the overall rating of your credit. Ideally, you should make large enough payments to make a dent in the balance and, ultimately, increase your credit score.
Don’t Rapidly Open New Accounts
This is a common mistake many people make when trying to establish a credit history. On the surface, having many new accounts may appear to be a great way to increase a credit score, it’s actually counterproductive. The score accounts for the age of each account — new accounts simply haven’t been around for the amount of time required to have a positive impact.