You’ve got to love that feeling when you can finally put your bags down in your new place. That feeling can be an interesting mix of excitement and anxiety. Your new place is usually unfamiliar on the first day, but you know it’s yours. The thing is, we all want to keep a bit of that excitement as long as we live in that place. Obviously, there’s no such thing as a perfect place. Every place has its quirks. But, you could find a place that’s perfect for your circumstances. There’s an infinite selection of places to rent out there. What you need to consider is how long you’ll be staying, what kind of place you need, and how much you’re willing to pay for it.
Those pieces of information will help you narrow down your choices. But the question is, how do you find good choices out there? This is why in this article we’re going to look at do’s & don’ts when looking for a rental apartment. We’ll also share some tips that you might consider right away.
How You Should Be Choosing Your Next Rental Place
We all dream of living in a place with as many rooms as possible. That dream place would be somewhere chill but somehow also super accessible. Oh, and we also want it to be fairly affordable. In the real world, however, you need to prioritize. Realistically, a place you rent should not cost more than 50% of your monthly income. When it comes to what you’ll be spending living in a certain place, it’s not only about rental fees. You need to also factor in the cost of transportation and the average price of groceries in the area.
When it comes to how long you’re willing to stay, it can really affect your budget and your available choices. Longer rental contracts will almost always result in lower rental fees. That’s because the landlord can guarantee income for a longer time. However, many landlords nowadays prefer renting out places, especially in big cities, for shorter stays through Airbnb and similar platforms. So, let’s take a look at what steps you should be taking when looking for a new place to rent.
Give Yourself Time To Look For A Place To Rent
Much like everything else, finding a good rental place works better with a bit of time and planning. The more time you give yourself before renting a place, the more you discover. You don’t only discover more rental options. You can also discover new websites, blogs, and other resources on which you can find rental places.
You’ll also learn a lot about your budget the more you look at different options. You might end up choosing a different style home or even a different area to live in. If you start looking a couple of months before actually moving in, you’ll avoid being rushed into a place. In contrast, if you only give yourself a couple of weeks, you’ll probably end up making many compromises. Those compromises won’t only affect your budget or the type of place you’ll stay in, but also your overall experience in the place. You might end up with the feeling of “I wish I did so and so instead.” So take your time, do your research, and don’t just go for the first option you come across. There’s always better stuff the more you search.
Never Stick To One Source Of Information
In this day and age, the internet will give you all kinds of information that you might need. The issue is that the internet is also full of false information. You need to learn to get your information from different sources. There are obvious websites that you can go to for rental apartments, like Zillow, Apartments.com, etc. While we don’t recommend renting off of Airbnb for a long-term thing, you could always message landlords through it and see if you can sort out a deal without paying for Airbnb’s extra fees. You should also look into local Facebook groups. These groups don’t just give you the chance to communicate with landlords directly, but you might also come across reviews of the houses and their landlords from previous tenants.
What you should definitely look out for are scams. There are way too many scams out there. The first rule is to never pay for anything without seeing it first. You might see some ads that’ll ask for deposits before you even get to visit the house, that’s a huge red flag! You might also come across ads on Craigslist and such that only show one picture of the house. Whatever the case is, you need to visit whatever house you’re interested in and give it a thorough inspection.
Real Estate Agents Are More Helpful Than You Think
Not to underestimate your inspection skills, but a set of professional eyes can make a world of difference. Real estate agents build their careers upon finding the right place for the right person. They also know what problems to look out for when finding a home for someone. They’ll also be well-aware of the neighborhoods, along with everything they have to offer. That’s why real estate agents located in neighborhoods that you want to move into are extra valuable.
The good thing is that you can find real estate agents that’ll help you find rentals for free. But, what you need to do is find real estate agents that are specialized in rentals, not house sales. Not only can those guys help you find good rental options, but they can also give you precious house hunting tips. What you should also do is take the time to find the right real estate agent for you. Talk to several of them. Take your time to find the one that fits your needs the most.
A Good Roommate Can Make A Huge Difference
At some point, we all want a whole place for ourselves. We want space where we can do anything we want, without having to think of other people’s opinions. But, at the same time, the real estate market has been going crazy nowadays. Finding a decent place to have on your own can cost an arm and a leg, especially if your paycheck is not that generous. That circles us back to the whole budget thing. The right place for you shouldn’t cost you more than half of your income each month. Let’s say you can shell out the money for a place on your own. More likely than not, that place will be quite small. That might lead to you having to cramp things into weird corners of the house.
Double The Tenants Means Double The Budget
This is where having a roommate can really help. To get the negatives out of the way, yes, some roommates can make our lives a living hell. But, if we take the time to look for a decent roommate, along with a decent place to live, things might turn out just fine. Now onto the positives. Having a roommate lets you look into options with a much higher budget. Those higher-priced options will almost definitely include bigger places than ones you would’ve gotten on your own.
Double The Tenants Means Half The Responsibility
There’s also the advantage of splitting the utility bills. Obviously, bills will be higher with 2 people in the house instead of one. But, it rarely will ever be double the rate of one person. Say you’re using the AC in your house while living alone, you’ll still use that AC with 2 people in the house. The only difference is now 2 people are paying for the electricity used by that AC instead of just one person. Bills will not be the only thing you’d split. You can also divide house chores among the 2 of you, making them less difficult/cumbersome to do.
Ask Your Friends For Help, You Might Be Surprised By What You’d Find
We don’t mean just walking up to your friends’ places, knocking on their doors, and asking for help. What we mean is using your social network to find more reliable rental options. Maybe if you’re looking for a good real estate agent, your friend might “know a guy.” But also posting on your social media that you’re looking for rental places, then asking your friends to share on their pages is a fast way to get the word out. The best part about the whole thing is that it’s for free (it would kind of weird for someone to ask for money to share your post).
There’s an almost infinite amount of rental apartments out there. Most likely, you’ll find rental places at all price ranges. You’ll also find places to rent in almost all neighborhoods. What’s most important is to know what kind of place you want to live in, how long you want to stay, and how much you’re willing to pay for it. The budget helps you narrow down the neighborhoods and houses sizes that you can go for. Your length of stay will affect the number of your options, as well as the rental prices you might end up paying per month.
You should always take your time to find the right place for you. Since you’ll be living in the place, you want to make sure you always enjoy being there. Search all platforms, compare different listings and prices. But beware of scams, and never pay for anything you haven’t seen yourself.
Finally, find different ways to save money when renting a place. Ask real estate agents for advice, they know a lot after all. If you need one, take your time to find a good roommate to help you cut costs and chores.