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 for the time being. The thing is, we all want to keep a bit of that excitement for as long as we live in that place. 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 a variety of different places that are available 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.
These pieces of information will help you narrow down your choices. The question is, how do you find good choices out there? This is why in this article we’re going to look at some things to consider when choosing your next rental.
How You Should Be Choosing Your Next Rental Place
Finding a rental can be a challenging task because there are many factors to keep in mind when finding the right place to live for your current situation. Some tips that can help you manage this process include:
- Understand Your Budget and Needs
- Give Yourself Time to Look for a Place to Rent
- Never Stick to One Source of Information
- Consider a Real Estate Agent (They’re More Helpful Than You May Think)
- Consider a Roommate
Understand Your Budget and Needs
The most important thing you need to know before beginning the process of finding your next rental is understanding your budget. This will show you the price range of places that you can look for. To get a better understanding of your budget, you will need to look at the amount of money you make every month versus the amount of money that you spend every month. For example, let’s say you make $2,000 a month. However, you spend $500 on bills like your phone bill, car, and groceries. That means you only have $1,500 remaining to put towards other costs like housing.
A good rule of thumb is to have your housing expenses be no more than 30% of your gross income every month, according to the definition of what it means to have affordable housing from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Besides understanding your budget, you want to make sure you understand your needs. For example, a family of five will have a hard time staying in a studio apartment. That means understanding the space you want and the amenities you want is important!
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 time you have to discover different opportunities. These opportunities can include 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 of home or even a different area to live in. If you start looking a couple of months before 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 this instead.” So, take your time, do your research, and don’t just go for the first option you come across. There are always other opportunities that you can find 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 websites that you can go to for rental apartments, like Zillow, Apartments.com, etc. 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 certainly look out for are scams. There are too many scams out there. Some red flags that can help you spot a scam rental listing include:
- The landlord is eager to make a deal without conducting proper background checks
- Details for the listing are vague
- They don’t want to show you the place
- They want you to sign the lease before showing you the place
- The amount of rent that they are requesting doesn’t make sense for the property
- They ask for you to wire money
Consider a Real Estate Agent (They’re More Helpful Than You May 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. Not only that, but they are also well-aware of the neighborhoods for their specialty. 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 (it just depends on the agent). 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.
Consider a Roommate
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 anyone else’s opinion. 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 idea. 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 nightmare. However, if we take the time to look for a decent roommate, along with a decent place to live, things might turn out just fine. Having a roommate lets you look into options with a much higher budget. For example, let’s say on your own you are looking at a one-bedroom apartment for $1,000 a month. Instead of paying $1,000 a month alone, you may be able to find a two-bedroom apartment worth $1,700. That means you could pay less for your half at $850 a month instead of $1,000! Those higher-priced options will likely include bigger places than ones you would’ve gotten on your own.
Besides being able to split costs like rent, you can also split expenses like utility bills, groceries, and more. Every setup will be different but there is the opportunity to split more than just the rent when it comes to housing costs that you and your roommate will deal with.
There are so many different rental options out there to consider. 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 house 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, and compare different listings and prices, but beware of scams and never pay for anything you haven’t seen for yourself. Good luck!