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Old 09-05-2012, 02:25 PM
 
56 posts, read 102,550 times
Reputation: 92

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Hey Guys,

I know the market here is insane. But I'm looking regardless, 1 bedroom to split with my girlfriend with a budget up to $2.5k.

Here's my situation: My girlfriend has a spotless credit report but not a whole lot of credit history. I have a bit of debt (not unmanageable) but what is killing my credit score is a missed payment about a year ago to my old electric company. Its the only missed payment I ever had, but of course even one can significantly reduce your FICO score (my score now is 695 - it was 780 before the missed payment)

I'm not here to make excuses, just want to know what I'm facing. Our combined income is over $120k and we have no car and hardly any other expenses, so affording a $2.5k per month between the two of us won't be difficult whatsoever.

So, is a landlord likely to overlook that one blemish on my report, considering my girlfriend's is clean and we have plenty in income? Or was that missed payment the kiss of death for me?

Any advice from someone that's been in the same situation, or can provide a landlord's perspective, would be much appreciated!

Cheers
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:47 AM
 
Location: Formerly Pleasanton Ca, now in Marietta Ga
7,868 posts, read 5,478,103 times
Reputation: 11037
It depends on your competition. As a landlord you look pretty good to me . Your missed payment is the exception more than the rule as far as I can see.
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:43 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,031 posts, read 9,365,819 times
Reputation: 5718
My partner and I have "just okay" credit and had no trouble getting a lease in SF. The only thing out landlord did differently was require a deposit of 2x the monthly rent, which is the legal maximum.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:43 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,924 times
Reputation: 10
That makes no sense, missing one payment on an electric bill should not drop your credit score by 85 points. I had a shortsale on my report and it dropped my score from 830 to 700.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:21 PM
 
56 posts, read 102,550 times
Reputation: 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by DnalkaO North View Post
That makes no sense, missing one payment on an electric bill should not drop your credit score by 85 points. I had a shortsale on my report and it dropped my score from 830 to 700.
I agree with you, it didn't make much sense to me either, but that's what happened - dropped about 85 points overnight.

Anyway, just to give everyone an update: I did indeed find an apartment. It is certainly a tough market, but my impression is that there are landlords out there that are reasonable and empathetic, and that being diligent in your search will give you an advantage.

My experience dealing with small-time landlords (people that owned a building or two) during my search was that they were more concerned about whether you were responsible & would be a good fit for the building (e.g. your friendly, clean, not a party-animal, etc...), and less concerned with the raw numbers of your credit score or income. Obviously there is a limit to that - you'll still likely have to make 3.5X the rent and your credit report cannot be rife with missed payments. But I just explained the one blemish on my report up-front, in an honest fashion, and my landlord was completely fine with it.

To any other apartment hunters out there - my best advice would be to refresh Craigslist as often as possible, and as soon as you see something you might be even the least bit interested in, CALL (not email) and schedule an appointment to view as early as you possibly can. If you don't like the place you can always decline to apply. I am lucky enough that I work on a computer most of the day, so I could just keep a window of Craigslist open and refresh every 15 minutes or so. Being the first person to call gives you a huge advantage. Avoid Open Houses - they are a waste of time. There will be too many people there for you to beat out, who will inevitably make far more money than you do. Just deal with small-time landlords that show apartments in one-on-one appointments.

Then, go to the viewing dressed clean and professional, be friendly with the landlord, give them a reason to like you and remember you. Then if you like the place, give them a pre-filled out standard application (you can find online) & credit report at the viewing, or if they want you to complete their own form, do it as quickly as possible, scan and email to the landlord.

Again, my experience is that the apartment search is not all about the money - landlords are human beings (well, most are) and they aren't all in it to get the absolute highest price and screw over the little guy. In fact, my landlord told me after I signed my lease that she turned down several other people who offered more money in rent, or who offered to pay huge sums of money in pre-paid rent up-front, just because she liked me and felt that she was morally obligated to accept me since I was the first person to call and first person to view the place.

So don't get discouraged!
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:57 PM
 
110 posts, read 360,080 times
Reputation: 97
It's probably because it happened just recently. It should go back up after you establish a pattern of stable credit + repayment. (Couple months, tops)
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