If you are out and on the hunt for an apartment and you’re relatively new to the game, you may not know how the approval process works. Every complex will have its own approval process, and some are stricter than others.

Although each process varies, there are some tips you can follow in order to make sure you receive the apartment you want:

If you are in college, have your parents co-sign the lease.

Co-signing a lease simply means that if the person who signs the lease as an occupant can’t pay the rent, the cosigner holds legal responsibility for paying the rent.

Technically, anyone can co-sign on a lease.  However, it’s usually not a good idea to have a co-signer, unless you are a college student, you can’t afford the rent on your own, and your parents have the financial means to cover it if you can’t.  If things should go wrong, signing for a struggling friend or relative may lead to ruined relationships and extra financial hardships for people who don’t need them.  Read more about co-signing in this article.

Make sure your income is three times your rent.

If your rent is $700 per month, you must be making somewhere around $2,100 a month for your landlord to be comfortable renting to you.  You don’t have to make that amount precisely, but you do have to be close.

Remember, you need to be able to provide financial statements indicating you do make this amount of money – your landlord won’t take you at your word.

Have a good credit score.

Many landlords are checking credit scores for their prospective tenants. For people who have fallen on hard times due to a job loss, this may not be the fairest check in the world, but it happens.

Your credit score provides an indication of your financial responsibility to your landlord.  Very often, they will also charge you a fee (around $25) to run the check.  Not every landlord runs these, so don’t feel like a bad credit score prevents you from renting an apartment.

Appear to be an honest and responsible person.

Make sure the interior of your car is clean.  Why?  When you go to view your potential future apartment, many landlords take a quick peek inside.

Generally, people care for the inside of their cars the same as they would the inside of their apartments.  Landlords do not want to deal with someone who will damage their property, not fix it, and also not pay for any damages.

Landlords will also look at your personality. If you appear to be the type who doesn’t cause any trouble, then you have a much better chance of receiving the apartment.

If You Don’t Get the Apartment You Want…

Don’t give up hope! Because landlords all have different standards for renting, there is definitely one out there who will take you on.  Just use an apartment locator to ensure a thorough search.  However, the stronger you are in these four factors, the more likely you are to get the apartment you want in the location you want.