Credit reports are typically required by lenders and property managers when you are searching for a new home.
During the application process, the landlord will likely run a credit check on your credit history. A credit report is created through credit bureaus which collect financial information about you to determine credit worthiness..
There are three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These reporting companies collect information on your personal financial details and on your bill paying habits to create a credit score.
The scale is based on scores of 350-850, with 850 as the best rating. Scores required by property managers may differ, so it is important for you to know your credit score and to ask what the required score is before applying.
The most common credit score range is 300-850. The higher, the better. Ranges will vary depending on the landlord or lender, but here is a general overview:
- Excellent: 720+
- Good: 690-719
- Fair: 630-689
- Bad: 300-629
Learning the Basics
Your credit report and score can affect your ability to get a loan, rent an apartment, or even qualify for a job.
A credit report shows your bill payment history, current debt, and other financial info. Companies and lenders use your credit report to calculate your credit score—a number usually between 300 and 850.
The higher your score, the lower your interest rate may be for a loan or credit card.
Learn three ways to improve your credit report and score.
- Check your credit report. Get a free report yearly from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion at the official site AnnualCreditReport.com. Check for errors and for fraudulent accounts. This report does not include your credit score.
- Fix errors. Write to the credit reporting agency and information provider (bank, credit card company, etc) detailing any errors or fraud. They’re required to investigate. Keep a copy of your correspondence.
- Know your credit score. Check your score for free on your credit card statement or online account or buy it from a credit reporting agency. Paying bills on time and reducing debt can help improve your score. Learn more at usa.gov/credit-reports.
Free Credit Report
You can receive a free credit report each year at www.annualcreditreport.com
Credit reports include your current and previous addresses, social security number and employment history. They also include a summary of bank or credit card accounts that are past due or in good standing, and information related to high balances, credit limits, information about liens and wage garnishments. Credit reports usually retain negative information for seven years.
It’s a good idea to review your credit report before you need it. Make sure to check for errors before you need to apply for a lease or credit so you can ensure accurate information. If there is inaccurate information, it may need to be corrected which could delay a purchase or lease.
A co-signor or guarantor may be permissible, but policies vary between property management companies.