Finding an apartment is not easy.
In fact, in a Rent.com survey, millennials deemed finding a new apartment more difficult than finding a mate, making new friends, and buying a car.
And get this — 10% of the millennials surveyed went so far as to say that finding a place to live is more painful than childbirth.
When you’ve got a generation of people looking at apartment hunting with so much dread, it can be tough to break through that wall and find your perfect new “home.”
That’s what we are here for. Today we’ll be sharing apartment hunting tips for millennials, so that you can get through the hard parts of this process and reap the benefits of your fab new pad.
Top apartment hunting tips for millennials
Tip #1: Establish a budget
Things can get out of hand very quickly when looking at apartments to rent. We’re looking at you, New York City.
However, The Big Apple isn’t the only one guilty of high rent prices. With the growing popularity of rent, the demand for apartments is growing, and you know what that means — prices are driven up. Sky-high in many cases.
While quicken.com suggests that you should aim to spend about 25% of your gross monthly income on rent, most of us know that is a pipe dream.
This means that if you make $3,000 a month your rent should ring in at $750 a month. “Wouldn’t that be nice,” is what you’re probably thinking.
Rather than using 25% as your limit, let that number serve as a starting point for more realistic expectations.
Consider your other monthly expenses, and see how they factor into your overall costs.
Once you know how much money you have coming in every month, and how much money will be going out every month, it will be easier for you to know what you can afford.
Include in your budget things such as:
- Cell phone
- Eating out
- Gas or public transportation
- Credit card payment
- Student loans
- “Fun money” (going out, traveling, etc.)
Thanks to technology, budgeting and spending has become much more simple.
According to dailyworth.com, the top 5 money apps for millennials are:
- Venmo. Makes going out to dinner with friends easy. One person pays the bill, the others send their portion of the bill via Venmo.
- Digit. This app tracks your spending and analyzes your bank account to help you decide what you need to save, and what you can spend.
- Empower. Able to sync all of your accounts (checking, saving, student loans, etc), this app gives you an easy way to track your finances all in one place.
- Freshbooks. If you’re a side-gig loving millennial, Freshbooks is for you. Here you can manage invoices, expenses, and more.
- Robinhood. For young investors who want to do commission-free stock trading from the palm of their hand.
Tip #2: Start hunting online
Once you know what you can afford, it’s time to turn to the Internet.
There are a number of apartment-hunting websites out there, and it’s a good idea to use more than one to score your next home.
The Craigslist Conundrum
There is no denying that Craigslist has been known for a scam or two, yet still it remains one of the top websites to use in apartment hunting for millennials.
“Although people call Craigslist ‘sketchy,’” says Emily Burton of Fueled.com, “I had a great experience with it in lieu of other housing platforms.”
So how do you attack Craigslist in a way that will not just be a waste of your time?
“The most successful strategy for me was going on Craigslist and narrowing my search down as far as budget, gender of roommates, and location,” suggests Burton.
Other Sites to Search
Regardless of how you feel about Craigslist, there are a number of other sites out there that are great tools to have in your apartment-hunting arsenal.
And many of these sites have made things even easier for apartment-hunting millennials by creating apps for on-the-go searches.
So how do you know which one to use?
Kelly Higgins, licensed real estate salesperson at Bohemia Realty Group says to “shop for the one you like the most! They all have a unique experience, and searching for an apartment can be stressful. Take the time to explore these apps and all their features to make sure that you are utilizing them to their fullest potential and maximizing the time you are spending on your search.”
Tip #3: Learn to compromise
The chances of you getting the exact apartment you want — great price, killer location, ideal amenities, and rad landlord — are infinitely small.
What we mean to say is that you are going to have to compromise in one of those areas. Thankfully, you get to choose which area you have more room to wiggle in than the others.
Decide what’s most important to you, and what you are willing to negotiate on.
Then, take the leap and fill out that app ASAP. A good apartment doesn’t sit around long.
You should have all of the following information ready to use in your apartment application:
- Proof of income
- Prior addresses
- Application fee
- Cosigner (if you have bad or no credit)
Tip #4: Start packing up your stuff
Once your app is approved, the fun begins (wink wink). Whether this is the first or 10th time you’ve moved, packing is a challenge.
When you pack up your life into a bunch of boxes, you’re likely going to realize there’s no way it’s all going to fit in your tiny, but lovely new apartment.
The bottom line is that you’re going to have to sacrifice some items to put in storage.
Thankfully, deciding what items to store away won’t be hard, thanks to Closetbox. Closetbox’s valet storage service picks up your belongings and takes them a highly-secure storage center. Here they’ll safely reside until you’ve made room for them, or are ready for a little redecorating.
All it takes is a quick phone call, and Closetbox’s moving professionals will return the belongings you need to your apartment. Now you’ve got everything you need to make your apartment really feel like home.
With some patience and planning, finding an apartment as a millennial can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
You’re sure to learn a lot about yourself in the process — what’s important to you in your living space, how much money you spend, what you can and cannot live without, and the fact that you can make it on your own.
So get hunting, and good luck!