you’re a renter looking for an affordable apartment,
you’ve got your work cut out for you.
a recent survey by Rent.com, an apartment listing
website, 88 percent of property managers said rents
increased over the last 12 months. Looking ahead to next
year, 68 percent said they expect rents to climb by an
average of 8 percent.
number of available apartments has not kept up with
demand. According to the latest U.S. census data, the
national vacancy rate for rentals dipped to 6.8 percent
from April to June, the lowest level since 1989.
the rental housing supply catches up with demand, we’ll
continue to see this tight, really tough market for
renters," said Niccole Schreck, senior brand
manager at Rent.com.
improve your odds of finding a place you can afford,
consider these tips.
in the off season. The majority of leases are signed
from April through August. Delay your apartment search
until the winter and you may be in a better position to
snag a deal.
less inventory, but you tend to have more leverage
because fewer people are looking," said Dan Hang,
vice president of rentals for Zillow Group, which
manages housing search websites.
tactic Hang suggested for those looking during the
winter: In exchange for slightly lower rent, offer to
sign an 18-month lease rather than the usual 12 months.
That way, the next time the lease is up for renewal it
will be during the peak summer season, which should
appeal to landlords.
landlord will have more confidence about renting out the
unit at that time, and that may just help you be able to
negotiate a lower price," Hang said.
prepared. As you’re looking for apartments, have your
paperwork ready, including a copy of your credit report,
recent paystubs or an offer letter from your employer,
and contact information for previous landlords.
be ready to put down first and last month’s rent, plus
a one-month security deposit.
the property manager or landlord that you’re serious
and not going to waste their time," Schreck of
Rent.com said. "Being organized will also signal
that you’re a person who is likely going to pay rent
the market. Even though rents are rising nationally,
market conditions will vary by city — even
trying to fill newly constructed buildings, for example,
might offer one month of free rent and other promotions,
said Ishay Grinberg, founder and president of Rental
Beast, an apartment search website with listings in
Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other
to compete, landlords of existing buildings nearby may
be more willing to keep rents steady.
concentration of new inventory can help stabilize a
market," Grinberg said.
a co-signer or roommate. To be approved for an
apartment, you have to show you’re a worthy tenant.
That generally means having a strong credit score,
monthly income that is three times the monthly rent and
to meet those requirements and you’ll likely have to
get a guarantor (such as a parent) to co-sign for the
apartment or be willing to put down a hefty security
in mind that a guarantor’s income will need to be four
to five times the monthly rent, rather than just three
income has to be higher because it’s assumed that
guarantors have their own housing costs to pay,"
said Andrew Woo, manager of growth strategy at Apartment
List (www.apartmentlist.com/il/chicago), an apartment
alternative: Get a roommate.
always get a price break on a two-bedroom apartment that
you split with a roommate," Woo said.