Moving to Austin (Round Rock, Lakeway, West: sale, real estate, sublet)
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Hi! I'm new to the forums and am hoping to find some answers to a couple questions I have.
We're from a small town in Western Nebraska. My husband lost his job last year and we've been struggling to make ends meet since. We have family located in the RR area and my husband has located a job there as well. Our move date is August 20, providing everything stays on schedule with the selling of our house here in West NE.
We plan on renting once we move but, having owned our house we are inexperienced in the renting dept. I've also found out (reading and researching) that renting in the Austin/RR area is very different from renting in our small town.
Do all house rentals require a credit check? Since my husband lost his job, ours isn't the greatest although we are working on rebuilding it.
Also, do all houses require a pet deposit? We have a small inside dog and was wondering if the deposit is negotiable or not?
Do most rentals do business through real estate companies or personally?
I'm sorry if some of these questions sound stupid but I'm coming from a place where you find a rental in a local paper, call for availability, view it, pay 1st month rent/deposit, shake hands, and move in!
Any other information on this subject would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
I have never heard of a rental that didn't require a credit check. I have also never known someone to waive the pet deposit. In fact, it is common for people to require "pet rent" as well (an additional fee paid each month). There are houses that go through rental companies as well as ones that do not, but the credit check and pet $$$ are pretty universal.
With bad credit, no job renting is going to be extremely difficult in Austin. I've yet to run into a landlord who didn't conduct a credit check. What they might do is have you pay a few grand extra as a security deposit--that's what's happened to some friends--and have a family member co-sign the lease.
Pet deposits, especially for an indoor dog, are highly unlikely to get waived. I've only had it happen once, during the housing slump, and I had a cat at the time. Finding a house that will let you have a dog severely limits your choices.
Landlords in Austin can afford to pick and choose these days, given the influx of people moving here.
We just rented in the area, (move in Aug. 2) and we used an agent to show us places and to help us with the paper work. We had to sign a contract with the rental agent, but they were flexible with letting us change the date of its expiration, etc. We tried the old "look in the paper" route, but rentals just don't do it like that any more. We didn't go to a rental location company, but just went on the recommendation of a friend for the realtor. When we applied for the lease, we had to give permission for a credit check, which I assume was done. (We are retired, so we have no jobs, but we do have good credit.) We have 2 cats, and the other agent (representing the owner) knocked off the deposit for one of them (it was $250, but that varies a lot). We paid a property deposit that was equivalent to a month's rent. I'm sure it varies between areas, but the place we rented had been on the market for 4 months, so rentals are not necessarily being snapped up. This was in Lakeway, which may be different from Round Rock, but that is my story.
Thanks for the replies! My husband will have a job once we move. I don't have a problem paying a pet deposit...I was just wondering if it's a standard. Since credit checks are mandatory, do you think it will be difficult renting a house with less than perfect credit?
Depends on why the credit is so bad. Did you once declare bankruptcy and are now rebuilding? Not so bad. Or will it show that you are consistently late paying your bills? (Ouch). Is your credit bad because you have maxed our your available credit or because you have been taken to collection often? Not all bad credit reports are alike.
Put yourself in the landlord's shoes: You have a place to rent and you want to make sure you get your rent checks. When someone shows up looking to rent and a credit check reveals that they don't pay their bills until a collection agency calls, or they default on previous loans, the landlord gets nervous. Every landlord at the end of the day wants only two things: they want someone who will not trash their house (hence the pet deposits) and they want someone who will pay the rent on time.
Without prying, can you give us any hints as to why your credit is so bad? And how bad is bad? Is it just a case of a FICO score being not as high as you might like, or does your report tell the reader things about you that lead them to believe you are a deadbeat?
Up until July of last year we paid everything on time. I absolutely HATE being late on anything. But, my husband lost his job due to his company totally wiping out the division he was working in. Jobs are very scarce in this area (as well as everywhere, I know) but my husband was able to keep us going with sub-contracting jobs until November/December. Since his trade is construction, the winter hit us very hard and we were unable to pay our bills and got behind. Things starting picking back up again in June and we're current on everything except a couple credit cards which we plan on paying off when we finish the sale on the house. I ran our credit report just today and it's not the best. We are by far not deadbeats and believe in paying things on time. I just wonder if people will look past the credit score and realize that.
OK - now that you've heard from the peanut farmers, I'll tell you how to get an apartment with bad credit. I promise you, my credit is worse than yours (I believe credit reporting agencies should be illegal and are un-American, so you can imagine what my credit rating might be - lol).
Although I have never rented or lived in Austin, it won't be much different than everywhere else. If landlords only rented to those with good credit, there would be a LOT of empty rental properties.
1) Stay away from corporate-owned apartment units, as in ones that have internal rules which strictly bind them to b.s. coprorate standards, and mandate that the building managers ignore real-life humans. These types are found in the "Apartment Guide" and have big ads in "newspapers" (a newspaper is something previous generations used to get their information).
2) Stay away from apartment "buildings" in general - their processes are usually set in stone, and ignore human beings.
3) Use craigslist - but only respond to ads not placed by "management companies."
4) Try to meet as many landlords IN PERSON as possible. Look at the apartment or house rental first. Tell the landlord you LOVE it, but...you have bad credit. Tell them you are willing to fill out a credit application and pay the fee (many of them just keep the fee anyway, and don't run the report). Actually fill out the credit application (many of them simply use it to get our information in case you don't pay anyway, so they'll still ant the information). Tell the LL that you are really a good person, you have cash enough for a few extra months in advance (even if state law prohibits paying in advance, many LLs will happily take the money anyway). Tell them you will pay with cash or money order, if necessary. Show proof of income if possible. Present them with references from previous LLs, or show that you owned in the past. Offer to show them your tax returns even (as proof of income)! If they won't rent to you still, ask if they know someone who would!
5) Make sure the LL is not going to run away with your money! Ask questions.
6) If all that doesn't work - use temporary housing. Austin has Budget Suites, I think. Or some similar local place. It's more expensive, but there's no credit check.
7) Or, try a temporary sublet - all of them won't require leases, and, if they do, and you are already in and paying, it may work out for you anyway.
8) Or, buy if possible.
The point is, there are LOTS of ways to find an apartment or rental house without ANY CREDIT AT ALL. If people with bad credit or no credit could not live anywhere, we would have a REVOLUTION of the homeless. This has not happened, so the peanut farmers are just wrong. Good luck.
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