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How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For An Apartment?

Alcove Team · 7/31/22

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For An Apartment?

If you are in the market for a new apartment, one step to finding the perfect place will probably include a rental application. From the moment you submit your application until you are approved, the waiting period can be nervous and exciting. In this article, we will break down how long your approval process may take and a few steps that will make your application as strong as possible.

The short answer

There is not a guaranteed timeline for an application decision. In most cases, once you have submitted your rental application, it will typically take one to three business days to be denied or approved. If your application is incomplete, it may take longer to finalize. This may include something like missing a required document. 

What happens during an approval process

When property managers and landlords receive rental applications, there are a few steps they take to determine if the application is approved or denied. The most time-consuming parts are verifying your employment history and rental history. Additionally, they will perform credit and background checks. Because these are automated and online processes, they usually are quick. Each of these steps is taken to ensure you will be a financially safe tenant and a good match for the property.  

Tips to strengthen your application

There are several steps you can take to ensure that you put your best foot forward to increase your approval chances. Below, you will find some ways that you can guarantee the quickest turnaround on your application.

Fully complete your application

This tip may go without saying, but make sure you have thoroughly filled out your application and given as much information as possible. By guaranteeing that your application is completed, you will lessen the chances of your landlord or property manager needing to contact you to provide more information.

If you are aiming for a single unit in a competitive market, your chances of getting the unit may be lessened if your application is not completely filled out.

You also may want to consider applying with a co-signer or guarantor. If you do not have a credit or rental history, or if your income falls below the desired amount, applying with someone who has good credit or a higher income can increase your likelihood of being accepted.

Some items you may want to double-check:

  • Current address

  • Current Employment

  • Driver’s license number

  • Phone number

  • Previous address

  • Social security number

Prepare your documents

Going along with completing your application, make sure you have copies of your required documents to give your landlord or property manager. These can usually be digital or physical copies. Being prepared will help your process move as quickly as possible and show that you will be an organized tenant. Your application should list the required documents you need to provide. 

Here are some documents you may need to prepare:

  • Copies of your driver's license and social security card 

  • Cover letter

  • Financial documents (bank statements, tax returns, etc.)

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Parking information (make, model, license plate number)

  • Pet documents (vaccine records)

  • Proof of employment (pay stubs)

Provide a cover letter

In competitive markets especially, providing a cover letter will allow you to connect with the landlord or property manager during a process highly driven by numbers. In your cover letter, you have space to explain any discrepancies in your application like credit changes, and to make a case for why you want to live somewhere. Showing directed interest does not guarantee that you will be ultimately chosen for an apartment, but it may help the landlord sway in your direction compared to an applicant that did not provide a cover letter.

After you submit your application, send a follow-up

If you have not heard back from the landlord or property manager after three business days, be sure to reach out in case you need to provide more information in the approval process. 

Next steps

If your application is approved, if you are still interested the next step will be to sign a lease. 

If your application is declined, your apartment search will continue. Sometimes the market can be very competitive, but that shouldn’t discourage you from continuing to apply for the places you want to live. Keep searching and submit your applications early to ensure the best chances of landing somewhere.

Are you searching for a new apartment?

Looking for a new apartment is a huge decision. Deciding on location, amenities, and price point are some things you should be mindful of. If you’re thinking about renting, consider checking out Alcove. Alcove offers a new coliving model that is more affordable than a studio or single bedroom apartment.