“Avoid asking your family to cosign, use Insurent”

Most of the experienced New York City renters know you need to make an average of 45 times the rent to qualify for an apartment with a guarantor.

This means for a $2,500 one-bedroom, you need to make $112,500 a year. So, heads up: New hires, students, people without U.S. credit, and people who don’t make 45 times the rent: YOU WILL NEED A GUARANTOR.

A guarantor – someone who signs an agreement to pay the rent if you cannot pay for some reason — is usually someone related to you. It’s probably your parents, but you can also ask someone else to be the cosigner. Could be a rich uncle or aunt, but whoever it is, they are legally on the hook if you do not pay your rent.

Asking a parent or relative to be your guarantor is a painful process. You are trying to be independent and they will complain about the financials they need to reveal and the paperwork they need to complete. If you want to avoid asking your parents or another family member, there is a rental cosign service called Insurent. They will act as your guarantor for a fee (less than a broker) and their requirements are much less strict. Currently, more than 300,000 apartments accept this service.

Mistake No. 4: Not having good credit

This is crucial. You will not be able to rent ANY apartment if you don’t have at least a fair credit score. Fair credit is in the range of 620-659. Even if you have a salary that is 45 times the rental price, if you don’t have at least a fair credit score, you will probably need a guarantor. If you are working with a broker it’s best to warn them in advance so they know which landlords to go to that are less hard on people without perfect credit. Some landlords might look the other way with additional security but obviously you need time to get that together.

Read more: StreetEasy Blog