If you’re like most people who are about to begin your search for an available rental, you’re probably feeling a mixture of excitement and uncertainty. Moving into your own place is certainly a cause for excitement, but you may be uncertain because you aren’t sure if your income is up to the task. The following eight helpful tips are designed to increase your chances of finding a rental that’s right for you:
1- Determine Your Budget
The first step in finding the right rental is to determine your budget. Experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your gross income on rent. However, if you’re lucky enough to live in a location with affordable rental prices, you could end up paying less than 30%. On the other hand, some cities have seen skyrocketing rent recently, so you may have to adjust your housing budget accordingly.
2- Make a List of Your Priorities
Making a list of features and amenities helps you narrow down the field. Identify those that are non-negotiable, such as whether a rental house or building is pet-friendly.
3- Be the Early Bird
In today’s competitive rental market, desirable properties are often taken within hours of being listed. Checking online listings while having your morning coffee — and being prepared to act on any possibilities quickly — may help put you ahead of the crowd.
4- Practice Patience
Finding the right rental can take time, so start your search well in advance. This provides you with the breathing room to avoid feeling pressured into taking a rental that’s too expensive or otherwise doesn’t fit your needs.
5- Use Your Personal Network
Word-of-mouth is still an effective way to find a rental, so don’t be afraid to let those in your personal network know that you’re looking. This is a great way to find out about properties that are becoming available before they’re even listed. For instance, your coworker may have a neighbor who’s planning on moving soon, or your aunt may have a friend who’s a private landlord with an upcoming vacancy.
6- Expand Your Search
In tight rental markets, it may be necessary to expand your search, particularly if your target area is in one of the more expensive districts of your city. Some neighborhoods may mean a longer commute or be further from desirable community amenities, but they may also offer more affordable rents.
7- Seek Out Incentives
Many rental complexes often offer incentives such as decreased rent for longer lease periods, while others might waive or reduce application fees to entice more interest in their properties. Even if you don’t see these advertised, don’t be afraid to ask the listing agent or property management company if there are any current promotions you can take advantage of.
8- Consider the Roommate Option
Spitting rent and utilities with a roommate or two can significantly lower your living costs. Be sure to choose a compatible, responsible housemate to ensure a harmonious living environment. Don’t be afraid to ask potential roommates for references, and be prepared to offer them your own references as well.