Don’t let sticker shock keep you from finding the perfect place to call home.
Recentdata showsthat U.S. renters can now expect to pay more than the suggested 30 percent of their income on their monthly housing payment. With vacancies decreasing and the growing popularity of renting in booming tech cities such as San Francisco,Seattle and Denver, finding a rental can be particularly hard hitting on the wallet.
Whether you’re dead set on living in your dream city or just landed a job in an area with sky-high rents, here are some tips for finding a home in a pricey market:
Be prepared to jump quickly
If you’re renting in an expensive market, that usually means a low number of vacancies. Fewer vacancies creates more competition for the units that are available. When you see something you like, be prepared to call or email the property management or landlord immediately. You should also keep your application paperwork — recent paystubs or a letter confirming that you’ve accepted employment, bank statements, contact info for current and past landlords — on hand to ensure that you’re ready to act quickly when you find a place you love.
Expect to compromise
When you picture your dream apartment, you might envision hardwood floors, a fireplace, two spacious bedrooms and of course, the ability to bring Fido with you so you can explore your new city together. While this type of place does exist, it may come at a pretty penny (or if it does exist in your price range, it’s gone about two hours after the ad is posted).
Don’t get discouraged. Know what’s most important to you in your home and then stick with that. Is location more important than aesthetics? Or can you not live without a charming vintage place to call your own? If you answered yes to the second question, you might have to prepare yourself for a long commute from the suburbs. Also, having a pet may automatically limit your options, as landlords can be picky in a tight market.
Consider sharing the burden
While you may have been able to live alone in a less expensive city, that may not be the case in an expensive market. Finding a roommate to share costs will lessen the burden. If you are not comfortable with house sharing, then be prepared to live smaller. Be creative when it comes to storage and buy multipurpose furniture.
Anticipate additional costs
Landlords in expensive rental markets typically expect a deposit plus the first month’s rent before you even move. Moving to a large city like New York often means paying a broker’s fee, which you pay at the lease signing for the broker’s help with finding an apartment. While apartment hunting in a less expensive market may just require a quick online search, navigating the New York City rental market can often be overwhelming and more expensive if you go it on your own. According toStreetEasy, broker’s fees are typically around 12-15 percent of the annual rent, which can get pretty expensive when it comes to Manhattan or Brooklyn rent prices.
Know the fair housing laws
Renting in an expensive market can unfortunately lend itself to scams and less-than-law-abiding landlords. While this isn’t the case most of the time, be sure to knowyour rights as a renter. For example, if you have a disability that requires a service animal, then a building’s no-pet policy doesn’t apply to you. Also, unless a building is specifically set aside for the use of senior citizens, a landlord cannot discriminate against anyone with children. Check your specific state laws on the rules for application fees and security deposits to protect yourself.
Always ahead of the highly competitive RGV real estate market, Marilyn Cortez is a Spanish speaking native of the Rio Grande Valley. Born and raised in Mission, Marilyn is committed to her clients, and is recognized as a Top Agent in the Greater McAllen Real Estate area, and within Keller Williams Realty. Since the start of her Real Estate career in 2007, she has sold over 40 million dollars of real estate. Known by her fellow real estate agents to be hardworking, honest, dedicated and motivated, Marilyn is knowledgeable in all areas of Real Estate and has built her business on results, with more than 70% of her clients being repeat clients.
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"Marilyn helped us buy our first home, and we never felt like we were out of the loop. I was always informed about every single step of the process, and if I had any questions or concerns, Marilyn answered all my questions in a timely manner. I highly recommend her as an Agent, and I can't wait to do business with her again."