We've used various online sites in the past to find places, but the one we're in now, we just happened upon by driving by. It's a little more than the standard 30% of our income ratio, but the floor plan is HUGE and it's a gorgeous apartment for the money. Everyone who steps foot in our place comments on the arched doorways and vaulted ceilings - oh, and the huge kitchen. The only downside is that now we're spoiled!
When it comes to renting an apartment or home, you don’t have to be at a loss. Renting has its benefits and can be a positive experience for people saving money to buy homes of their own. Renting a place rather than buying can be a very sound financial decision when you are starting out. Even most millionaires start out renting. When it comes to selecting the right rental space for you, there are some things to consider. Making a hasty decision won’t save you money. It will end up costing you more in the long run. That’s why it’s important to do your research to make sure you’re getting the most bang from your rental buck.
Here’s how to find and benefit from your rental apartment or home:
1. Use a website like DoNotRent.com to get honest feedback about the apartment rentals you’re interested in. People love to share their experiences with others. Take advantage of this communication by educating yourself about the options available in your city. For example, if you need a Chicago apartment finder, you enter the location you’re interested in to find reviews about the different dwellings available for rent there. This will allow you to find the best rated apartments and homes in the city.
2. Do not spend more than 30% of your total income on rent. If you can spend less than that guideline on rent, you can save the remaining money in a bank account where you can earn interest on it. FirstApartmentGuide.com offers a handy rent calculator for you to use on their site. Access it here.
3. Compare floor plans and amenities with other rentals in your price range. If you can get more space and other luxuries like a washer and dryer hook up, onsite gyms, and a swimming pool, by all means choose the apartment or home that’s the most enticing. Think about it for a second. A gym membership costs money. Going to the public pool costs money. Frequenting the Laundromat costs time and money. Amenities help you save. Check out this About.com article, 10 Amenities Tenants Look for in a Property, and create a wish list of your own.
4. Pick the right location. If your perfect rental is miles away from your workplace or children’s school, you might want to reconsider leasing it. Commuting costs money. You may be saving on a rental apartment or home but you won’t save a dime on gas and upkeep as well as time. Realtor.com offers the following advice when choosing a rental.
“When evaluating a neighborhood you should investigate local conditions. Depending on your own particular needs and tastes, some of the following factors may be more important considerations than others:
- quality of schools
- property value
- crime rate
- future construction
- proximity to schools, employment, hospitals, shops, public transportation, prisons, freeways, airports, beaches, parks, stadiums and cultural activities such as museums, concerts and theaters.”
Apply the aforementioned tips to your apartment or home search and get the best rental space money can buy. You don’t have to forgo comfort to save money. You just need to know what things you won’t compromise on when selecting a place to dwell.
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About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. She contributes to many different personal finance blogs.
Your absolutely right! Few months back only I buyed one apartment and it is very peaceful to live with my family now am saving around 40% for every month.
If you want to save for a house while renting, I'd suggest going quite a bit lower than 30% of income so that you can use the rest of your housing cushion for savings. :)
Budget for me is the most important factor when looking for an apartment. Oh yeah, and location too. Then, based on that, I would make a list of the things I want out of an apartment. it's less private than homes or a condo but sometimes, that's all we can afford... for now.