Preparing your college student for rent, living independently

Published: Aug. 22, 2019 at 5:46 PM CDT
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Wichita State University students might study history. But, do they check their credit history?

"I've checked it a lot recently," WSU junior Drue Ashton-Owen said.

"No. no. Honestly not too much," WSU freshman Mackenzie Hull said.

That's the first piece of advice from the FTC. If your student plans on renting - check it now - because a potential landlord will. You'll want to spot any potential fraud as soon as possible.

"Some experts say you should check your children's credit as early as you can, just because someone can use somebody else's social security number," said Chris Wolgamott with Meritrust Credit Union.

He says don't stop there. Start thinking about building a credit history when your student is 18 or 19.

"A small credit card, small personal loan, paid over a decent period of time will help you establish a little bit of that credit," Wolgamott said.

"I actually have a credit card. And, I've just been putting my gas on it so I can kind of build a little bit right now, while I'm still young. I don't want to get on bad terms. So, I'm just putting a little bit each month on it," Hull said.

The FTC also says look for rental scams.

Realtor Lance Ferguson from the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Alliance says scammers can use legit home listings, put them on Craigslist as a "rental" and replace the realtor's number with their own, tricking the potential renter.

"They think they're talking to the owner and will send a deposit or whatever the case may be, sight unseen," Ferguson said.

"They need to go look at it. They need to make sure it is, what they say it is," Ferguson said.

Finally, the FTC says pay rent when it's due.

Wolgamott adds to choose your roommates wisely.

"I would put them through a very tough vetting process. I just wouldn't want someone who says oh, I'm broke this month," Ashton-Owen said.