If you’re looking for cheap apartments for rent, don’t despair. According to the Wall Street Journal, rents are rising faster than at any time since the housing collapse of 2007. That doesn’t mean you can’t find an inexpensive apartment if you organize the search now.
Start by defining what “cheap” means to you. If the average studio apartment rents for $2,000 in the area you want to call home, what’s your budget? Then, take the following nine steps to find a cheap apartment for rent:
Step 1: Look in the Classified Housing Section of the Newspaper
Buy a copy of the newspaper in the area you want to live. You won’t find every apartment for rent using an apartment rental agent or service. Sometimes, owners advertise apartments in the paper. Cutting out the agent can help you find cheap apartments for rent.
Step 2: Find a College Town Roommate
Browse apartment ads at a local university or college. If you live in a city or college town, and if you don’t mind sharing an apartment, you may find an apartment that’s rented by one or more tenants in search of a roommate. After you tour the apartment, all you need to do is pay the monthly lease and deposit amounts required to the current lessor(s) each month.
Recognize that sharing the apartment will probably require social rules. As the current tenants about what they’re looking for in a roommate. If you like the other tenants and the apartment meets your needs, try negotiating a better than offer price.
Step 3: Go Online to Find Cheap Apartments for Rent
Search for an apartment online. Look for a cheap apartment rental on sites like Zillow.com, Rent.com, and Trulia.com. Search by city, state, or monthly budget to narrow the choice of apartments. CraigsList.com is another possibility. Find the CraigsList.com site for your area and search available listings according to number of beds, baths, laundry, or monthly rental costs. Since many owners use CraigsList.com, you may have more chances to find cheap apartments for rent. Message the lister to verify that the posted rental price is accurate.
Step 4: Visit Apartment Buildings and Complexes
Do some legwork. Take a walk in the area you want to call home. Visit the apartment complexes and ask about apartment specials. Depending on the number of units available or the season, you might find a cheap apartment deal. For instance, the complex might offer free rent in the first month or a certain percentage off of your monthly payment for six months or a year.
When possible, research the apartment complexes first. If an apartment building has an unusually high number of vacant units, it may be willing to rent an apartment cheap. Ask the agent about maintenance issues before you accept a deal or incentive. Also, don’t rent an apartment that you can’t afford after the deal period.
Step 5: Search for Garage Apartments, Guest Houses, and Cottages
Look at garage apartments. Drive around an area in which you’d like to live to identify garage apartments for rent. Homeowners may also rent a guest house or cottage on the property. Before signing the lease, determine that the rental plan is legally permitted under your municipal government’s laws and regulations.
Step 6: Network with Friends
Put out the word that you’re looking for a cheap apartment. Tell friends, family, and work colleagues that you’re in the market. Some owners don’t list rental apartments online or in the paper. They want a friend-of-a-friend with good credentials.
Step 7: Check Out Sabbatical Housing
If you’re an educator, look for sabbatical housing. College and university professors take time off from research every few years. Even if you hold an administrative role in education, you might find educators who are willing to rent an apartment at a cheap rate.
Alternatively, look for long-term pet or house sitting opportunities. For instance, if the owners of a condo or apartment go south for the winter but want someone at home to collect the mail, shovel the snow, and walk Fido, this may be an ideal opportunity to rent a cheap apartment.
Step 8: Cheap Seasonal Rentals
Consider a seasonal rental if you’re interested in renting a cheap apartment for several months to a year. Look at plum apartments at the shore in the fall and winter months. Owners may want someone in residence in the colder months. Be prepared to vacate when the owner returns.