Looking for an apartment is not always easy in today's housing crunch. Housing prices are on the rise, apartments are going fast, and anyone looking for an apartment on a budget may find themselves struggling. Fortunately, even in the current housing market the old tricks still work for finding an apartment in your price range.
Here are the five best tips to save money on your next apartment.
Look Outside the Loop
The further your apartment is from downtown and posh neighborhoods, the more affordable it is likely to be. The most in-demand apartments put professionals in walking distance of their downtown jobs. If you're willing to look for apartments outside "the loop" and further out into suburbia, then you're likely to find much more affordable places to stay.
In fact, nearly-rural apartment buildings and those in older neighborhoods often offer larger and more welcoming apartments at prices comparative to shoebox studio apartments downtown. The further out you're willing to go (considering transportation costs, of course), the lower apartment costs may drop. You might even find that a little rural or suburban house is more affordable than an apartment.
Downsize Your Room Count
Speaking of studio apartments, you can often save a bundle by downsizing your room-count expectations. If you don't really need two or three bedrooms, then don't bother looking for apartments that have them. One-bedroom and studio apartments are more difficult for complexes to rent and are very often priced in a more affordable range.
It's OK to sell or store some of your furniture to downsize if it gets you a comfortable well-placed apartment within your price range. You may even find that a nice quality little apartment is more worthwhile than a large shabby apartment.
Get a Roommate
The right roommate can transform your apartment hunt from a nightmare into a dream, provided you choose correctly. Roommates can be a great solution for splitting the rent, utilities, and even transportation costs of a new apartment. Plus, with a roommate, you may not need to downsize and can still benefit from the open living spaces of larger sized apartments.
Roommates can also be a good choice for someone who likes to live with company but doesn't have a family or a romantic partner to share a home with at the moment. If you do have a romantic partner, consider if now is the right time to propose moving in together.
Included Utilities, No Fees
A serious consideration in affordable apartment living is what is utilities and fees. If your utilities are included in the rent, be sure to calculate that when comparing rent and cost. Remember that included utilities can make a rent seem higher but ultimately save you money because you won't have to worry about bills on top of rent.
On the flip-side, watch out for fees. Apartments often level fees for pets, noise, mess, late rent, and more. Stay away from places that seem to be fee-happy and only consider paying fees that are reasonable and worthwhile to you. Like a one-time pet fee for your favorite cat companion.
Use Your Tolerances to Get Discounts
Finally, consider catching a less-desirable apartment in a nice building. Middle-floor apartments, for example, tend to be lower cost because there are people above and below. Basement apartments, mid-floor (non-corner) apartments, and apartments that have something minorly wrong with them can all be found at a discount.
The trick is to know what you can handle. Pick a place that's a bargain for you but might drive someone else crazy. If you can sleep through anything, if you don't mind the occasional neighbor thump, or if you don't need windows, there are oddball apartments in some really nice buildings that you might enjoy at a discount.
If you're hunting for an apartment this year, don't sweat the rising prices and high demand. With these tricks, you're sure to find a cute little apartment or even a nice rental ranch house that's sure to fit your needs and fall within your budget. For more practical everyday financial tips, contact us today!