Apartment hunting in the Salt Lake City area can be time-consuming and since time is in such short supply these days, there are a few things you can bring to the table to help the process move along more rapidly and smoothly; and save the hassle of faxing or even hand-delivering documents later. A plastic accordion folder with several pockets and a flap-fold closure is a great way to organize paperwork to bring along to each apartment tour that you schedule. Our list includes:
- Your legal identification. Call the community before you visit to find out exactly what types of ID are required so you can be sure to have them from the start; but most will require at least one legal form of photo identification (like a driver’s license, passport, or military ID card) and potentially a Social Security Card and certified copy of your birth certificate. Be aware that some apartment communities may ask you to surrender your photo ID while you leave the office to view a particular apartment, as a matter of security so they know exactly whom their Leasing Professional is leaving the office with; so if you do, remember to get it back before you leave!
- A copy of your credit report. The vast majority of apartment management companies require a current credit report as part of the application and qualifying process to ensure that you’re an acceptable credit risk. You can save them the time and effort—in addition to the possibility that multiple requests for your credit report within a short period of time from all of the apartment communities you plan to visit will negatively impact your FICO score—by bringing your own, including reporting from all three of the major reporting firms (Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion). Obtain your report before you plan to start shopping so that it will be as recent as possible. Ideally, you’re already on top of your credit score and have resolved any issues it might present; but if there are mistakes, now’s the time to attend to them … not when the community you’re applying to calls them to your attention. Bring documentation to support any corrections/resolutions that have been made.
- A copy of your pre-completed apartment rental application. If you completed the application online at the apartment community’s website, it’s a good idea to print yourself a copy so you’ll be good to go in the unlikely event that the app can’t be located when you arrive on site. If you printed one and filled it out longhand to bring with you, be careful to write legibly. Having to decipher your handwriting might cause an unnecessary delay.
- Employment/Salary verification. You should bring at least your three (or five if you want to be particularly thorough) most recent pay stubs; as well as your two most recent tax returns with the accompanying W-2 and/or 1099 forms; and your three most recent bank statements. You’ll also want the telephone number for your employer’s Human Resources department or representative as well as the telephone number for your bank in case there’s a need for additional information or clarification.
- Rental References. Your new apartment community will want to find out about your previous five years or so of residence history, so have the addresses and telephone numbers for each community you’ve lived in during that period along with the term of your residency. While most communities won’t ask for it, if you can obtain a glowing letter from a previous landlord about what a great resident you are, do it! A personal reference from your supervisor at work, highlighting how responsible you are as a person and an employee is a nice touch as well.
- Your pet’s information. Pet friendly apartment communities will treat your furry friend just like a person in that they’ll want to qualify them for residence, as well. Have copies of your pet’s immunization record to demonstrate that they’re current on shots; something that verifies the pet’s size/weight because many communities base their pet-friendliness on the size of the animal; and any special information about your pet’s breed that may become part of the approval equation. Certificates/records of obedience training are a plus.