How to Find an Affordable Apartment

Apartment hunting is an often necessary but seldom simple task. You can browse through apartment listings and never find one you like in your price range, if you do not search properly.

It is important to know what features to look for, as well as how and where to look. You also must have knowledge of rent negotiation and other aspects of apartment hunting.

If you are concerned about finding an apartment you can afford, you need to take advantage of cost-cutting techniques. For example, you may have to sacrifice optional features for a lower rental rate. The area in which you search for an apartment is another factor.

For example, city apartments are often more expensive to rent than those in more rural areas.

Even the floor an apartment is on often influences its price. An apartment on an upper floor may offer a better view. Therefore, its rent may be higher than that of the rent for a ground floor apartment. Below is more information on how to find an apartment that suits your needs and your budget.

Consider the Neighborhood

The neighborhood in which an apartment is located often influences its price. For example, finding low-rent apartments in a major city like New York is difficult.

Apartments in popular urban areas are limited, and landlords know that. They often charge higher rates because they know tenants are willing to pay those rates.

Even though comfortable apartments with low rent are rare in popular areas, there are units available.

Look for an apartment in a growing or recently revitalized neighborhood. When new businesses open in an area, it helps a neighborhood experiencing an economic slump blossom.

By renting an apartment at the beginning of that economic upturn, you will find the apartment you want without paying an astronomical rate.

Apartments in newly-constructed buildings are also often more affordable than those in older buildings.

New development encourages neighborhood growth, so apartments slowly become more expensive. Getting into an apartment early on is the key to saving money on rent.

Factors That May Reduce the Cost of Rent

When selecting an apartment, consider your willingness to travel.

An apartment located near a shopping mall or other convenient amenities is likely to cost more than one in a less convenient area. Also, decide what floor you prefer.

Common belief is ground floor apartments are most expensive because they are most convenient.

However, that is not always true. In fact, apartments on upper floors are often more desirable due to features like views or balconies. If you are willing to live on the ground floor and sacrifice those features, you may find an apartment with reduced rent.

You must also consider other apartment features when choosing where to live. The more desirable features an apartment has, the higher the rent usually is. Deciding which features you do not require will help you cut costs.

Examples of optional features you may choose to do without include:

  • Laundry area.
  • Dishwasher.
  • Central air.
  • Recent renovations.

The location of the apartment within the building may also influence the amount of rent you pay. An apartment with an external wall is often most desirable. Since one wall is not shared with a neighbor, noise is less likely.

An apartment located closest to a certain building amenity, such as a common laundry room or gym area, may also have a higher rental cost.

Learn About Negotiating Your Rent With a Potential Landlord

Another way to locate an affordable apartment is to initiate negotiations with the landlord. It is a common misconception for the advertised cost of apartment rental to be non-negotiable.

Much like purchasing a vehicle, there is often some flexibility. All you have to do is find the right way to ask for it. There are many options to offer the landlord that may lead to a reduction in rent.

Some examples include:

  • Paying a larger portion of rent up front.
  • Being willing to adjust the move in date, if the landlord requires you to do so.
  • Signing a longer lease agreement guaranteeing the landlord a certain amount of money in the long run.
  • Volunteering for extra services like painting or repairs, if you have the skills and time to do so.

Another important and often overlooked fact is rent negotiations do not have to be broached before you sign the lease. After a year or two, a landlord knows you are a reliable tenant. At that point, you are in a better position to negotiate.

Anytime you are due to sign a new lease, be prepared to review your history with your landlord. Point out facts like never paying your rent late or keeping the apartment clean consistently. Your landlord may prefer to keep you in your apartment at a reduced rate, rather than renting to new tenants who may not be as reliable.

Learn About Reviewing Move-in Specials

Move-in specials are incentives frequently offered to attract new tenants. The best move-in special to look for is  lower rent for the entire initial rental period.

For example, if you sign a one-year lease, you receive a lower rent rate for that year. Afterwards you must begin paying the regular rate.

Other move-in specials you may like include:

  • Reduced deposit.
  • No deposit required.
  • Waived application fee.

Consider the total benefit of each move-in special to find the best. For example, saving $25 per month for 12 months gives you a net savings of $300. That is a better deal compared to a $200 reduction in initial deposit fees.

However, consider your immediate needs. Saving $200 immediately may help you when you have a tight budget at the time of initial rental.

How to Obtain a Roommate for Lower Expenses

Another way to find an apartment is to opt to share it. Living with one or more roommates allows you to share expenses. Reduce your rent and utilities costs by half or more when your roommates share the financial burden with you.

Sharing an apartment may also increase your joint budget enough for you to get an apartment with extra amenities you want.

How to Take Advantage of Rooms for Rent

If you are still not sure you can afford to rent an entire apartment, consider renting a room in a home. Room for rent advertisements are common. When renting a room, interview the homeowner carefully and see if you feel comfortable living in the home.

Also consider the fine print of the agreement. For example, you may have your own bathroom or share a common bathroom. There may also be regulations you have to follow regarding use of the kitchen or other parts of the house.