by MARNÉ AMOGUIS
Moving into a new apartment is an exciting chapter, but there are many things to consider, including the cost. Whether you’re moving to a new city or moving out of your mom and dad’s house, finding a home can be difficult, especially when you have a budget to stick to. Rent can be expensive; in fact, it will likely be the highest expense you have.
Unfortunately, finding an affordable apartment within budget can be difficult and even overwhelming. Luckily, you can find an apartment where you’ll be happy. Here are the best ways to find an apartment within budget.
Consider Your Income
One way landlords consider who will be a good tenant is by looking at their income. After all, landlords have to know you can afford rent based on how much you make each month. Before you can start looking for an apartment, you’ll need to find out how much you can afford to pay in rent, which means taking a hard look at your finances.
Try not to spend more than one-third of your monthly income on rent. Landlords may also use this general rule of thumb when initially vetting prospective tenants. Other landlords may not use this rule and will only consider your income to demonstrate you can afford rent, even if it means paying half of your income in rent.
Before you can be accepted as a tenant, you’ll need to qualify. You’ll tell your potential landlord how much you make, and they will verify this information.
If you’re not sure how to determine how much you can afford to spend on rent, look at how much you make each month. For example, if you make a salary of $60,000 per year, you make roughly $5,000 per month. Next, divide that number by three to get approximately $1,600. This final number is the maximum you should aim to spend on rent. However, it’s typically best to find an apartment that will cost less so you can ensure you’ll have enough left over for necessities.
Once you know how much you can spend on rent, it’s time to start the hunt for an apartment. There are many websites available to help you find and vet apartments. You can even do a tour of an available apartment online. Here are just a few websites you can use to find your next home:
If you’re looking for an apartment on a short-term basis, start with Airbnb. You can reach out to people who are renting their homes to see how long they’d be willing to allow you to stay there. You can also find places for as low as $50 per night, depending on your current housing situation and needs.
Facebook marketplace is a great source that can help you find apartments available for sublease. Sublease agreements allow you to rent an apartment from the person who leases the apartment. These individuals won’t be living in the apartment while you rent it, but they are still responsible for rent according to their leases.
If you sublease an apartment, you’ll likely pay the rent each month instead of the rental property manager or landlord.
If you’re looking for an apartment for an extended period and want to turn it into a long-term home, consider looking for apartments local to where you work. You can do this with a quick google search for apartments in the city where you want to live. In the local search results, you’ll see all of the apartments in the area. From there, visit each website and see if there are any units available. If there are, make sure you look at any pictures available online and schedule a tour before you fill out an application.
Depending on where you want to live, you might not be able to afford a large apartment. Apartments in the city are more expensive and smaller than apartments outside of the city. If you want to live in a city, you’ll likely only be able to afford something small, including a studio apartment.
In this case, you’ll need to store your belongings in a storage unit so you can move into your apartment and keep your belongings minimal. Remember, when it comes to an apartment, you should look at the price per square foot. While ultimately, the total cost of rent should play a major role in your decision, comparing costs per square foot can help you weed out the apartments that are out of your price range.
Make A List
Once you’ve found all of the available apartments in your area, make a list of each of the complexes and start making a list of pros and cons. You should also include the rent price on your list so you can look at all of the information you have in one place. For example, your list can tell you that the cheapest apartment might not allow dogs, which means you wouldn’t be able to bring along your furry friend to live there.
Your list will also help you prioritize what’s most important to you when looking for a home. For example, you might want to pay a little extra each month for an apartment that offers a clubhouse or gym.
Look For A Roommate
Many people already rent their homes and need a roommate to make their rent cheaper. Getting a roommate cuts your rent price in half, which means you’ll be able to save money instead of spending it all on housing.
Finding An Affordable Apartment
Now that you know how you can find an apartment that won’t break the bank, it’s important you start doing the legwork and touring. While you may have to sacrifice some of the things you want in an apartment to get the best price, there are ways you can turn your apartment into a home through interior design.
If you have the time, you should be patient when looking for an apartment, especially if you plan on living in it for a long time. There’s no reason to rush into anything if you don’t have to.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.