House Hunting 101: How to Find a Cheap Home for Rent

checklist house hunting

House hunting is usually not something to look forward to or to enjoy. Moreover, finding a cheap home in the current housing market certainly isn’t an easy feat. But with these handy tips finding a new home should be fun and easy.

1. Think about Your Wants & Needs

  • Which commute time would be still acceptable to you?
  • What distance you’d be willing to take to the nearest subway or bus stop or do you have a car?
  • Does the apartment need to be pet-friendly?
  • Are you looking for a smoking or non-smoking apartment?
  • Do you prefer a quiet or a more lively place to live?
  • Do you require a stove, oven, dishwasher, elevator or laundry at your new place?
  • Would you be willing to share your home with a roommate?
  • What’s your stance on overnight guests?

2. Download Real Estate Apps

Apps like askalo, Craigslist, Locanto, StreetEasy, Trulia and Zillow can be quite handy and cut down on the time needed to browse for a new home. Moreover, most of these Apps allow you to save your searches and track your favorite listings.

Furthermore, you should definitely enable notifications. This way, you get a ping whenever there is a new place available within your set criteria. Considering that there are possible thousands of people looking for a place, a few minutes can make all the difference.

Bonus Tip: If you use a classifieds search engine like askalo you get offers from many different real estate and help you to avoid wasting countless hours on different real estate website.

3. Draft a Post you can use as a Standard Reply to Listings

To save you from house hunting-related burn-out you should draft a general reply you can send to landlords and just tweak a little for specific questions.

4. Be Flexible

Don’t set your plans in stone necessarily. Would a one-bedroom apartment be okay instead of a two-bedroom one? You should also consider if you’re willing to share your place with a roommate or more, you can save a lot of money every month as it is far easier to find affordable living space with a combined budget. In addition, you can also save on your utilities, furniture and other overhead costs such as TV, cable and internet charges.

5. Find out which Moving Times are Popular and then Avoid them

Take into consideration where you’re trying to find a home. Are there universities nearby? Then you will have to expect a high turnover between semesters, especially during the summer. People generally try to avoid moving during harsh weather conditions so most moves happen during more reliable weather seasons, especially during summer.

6. Choose Your Amenities Wisely

Would you prefer in-unit laundry or on-site laundry? Should your new home be renovated or non-renovated? Most renters will prefer to live in a nicely upgraded apartment. However, those properties are usually snatched up first and will also see higher demand, which in turn means that property owners can afford to raise rents. On the other hand, if you choose an apartment that doesn’t have all of these luxuries than it might not be as… well… luxurious, but you could get a pretty great cut in your rent and that for only minimal inconvenience!

You could even consider to commit to an apartment that is under-budget and make improvements yourself. One-times fixes like a leaky faucet or a fresh coat of paint will be much cheaper in the long run than renting an expensive apartment with all bells and whistles.

7. Stay safe

Never ever send money, your social security number or any other personal information to strangers, no matter what they say. Never pay for key delivery or for viewing. Don't sign any documents or turn over any cash until you do some of your own investigative research. Look up the name of the landlord or real estate agent and company with the word "fraud," "scam" and "lawsuit" to see if anything comes up.

Furthermore, if you're considering moving into a room into the apartment of someone else, make sure to actually meet the person or people you'd be living with first. You'll be able to ask key questions about their lifestyle and habits – and this is going to be very important in the long run.

8. Look into new areas

Find out where young professionals in your area are moving and do some research. Look into where the laundromats, parks and grocery stores are, what the crime rate is and where the nearest subways or bus stops are. Visit the area – you might just find a good fit.

9. Don't make impulsive decisions

I know, looking for affordable properties is very stressful. But remember to take your time and relax. After you see an apartment, walk around the neighborhood. Do you like it? Could you see yourself living there? Go there once on a Sunday and once on a weekday. Also, try a test drive to work.

If the answer is "Yes," follow up as soon as you can, as apartments go quickly and rent prices can change on a daily basis. If you find a place you love and the price is acceptable for you, then express your interest as soon as you can. However, if the answer is "Maybe," think about it more. Don't allow yourself to get swept up by the panic.

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