Visions of a beautiful high rise, perhaps near the beach—SCREECH—Hold it!
The apartment rental market is very tight today. Loss of homes to foreclosures, loss of jobs, even the inability to get a good mortgage rate today has forced many into the apartment rental market. And, as demand for apartment space has gone up because of downsizing, so has the rent of apartments gone up, all while there are fewer apartments available. That makes apartment hunting for reasonable costs harder and harder.
We have some suggestions for hunting for the best rental deal on an apartment you can find.
- Apartment construction has been slowed by the economy so newer apartment buildings are in high demand. That means rental deals are found in older apartment buildings. Yes, the kitchen might be dated and the floors old, but the space, heat, and comfort are more important. You can also always decorate to spruce up an older apartment.
- And, as to space, smaller apartments will be less costly. Think storage; shelving, armoires, and stackables can often suffice. Use one large space in multiple small ways, like having a dining room and living room together or a bedroom and office space together.
- Hook with realtors who know you have lesser expectations, which you should make clear. Then ask the realtor if there is a lower priced rental within the complex you look at. Realtors don’t always want to show you the worse or less-pricey ones first.
- Apartments that are not in the most convenient locations are often less pricey. People want to be near transportation or within walking distance of stores and work. But, you could use a bike, walk to a subway or bus stop, even start a car pool with people near your more out-of-the-way apartment.
- Apartments that don’t have the best space are also less expensive. People look for windows, higher floors, and views. Why compete at those prices? Be creative. There may be noise overhead in a first floor apartment, but you might be able to create a stoop or patio. If there are no views, decorate with artwork and color to bring eye candy inside. If you have few windows for natural light, put a couple sunlamps in your apartment.
All of these ideas may be less appealing but will save you money, and that will be well worth it in the end.
Also think of less expensive alternatives to apartments.
- You might check outside the city and rent a duplex.
- More and more people are renting houses they can’t sell to avoid foreclosure. If you see a house on the market for a long time, ask about renting it.
Finally, know how to negotiate.
Approach renting an apartment like buying a house:
- Do some comparison shopping. Find out what like rents are in your area and ask for a better rate based on the comparables.
- Look for places that need fixing in your apartment. Ask for those to be fixed or for a lesser rental rate, or volunteer to do the fix-it work yourself for a rent discount.
Always show your credit report and even your job contract to a potential landlord. If you are less of a credit risk or are going to stay in the apartment for a set time because of your job, it may be worth it to your landlord to give you a small rent break.
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