Rent Smart, Not Hard: 9 Tips for Affordable Housing

Finding an affordable apartment can be a struggle, but these tips will give you an advantage in your search.

Keeping your rent under 30 percent of your income is a commonly recommended financial goal, but for many young professionals in cities today, it’s a difficult target to hit.

As rent prices continue to soar, many Americans are finding it challenging to stick to the recommended guideline of keeping rent under 30 percent of their income. For instance, in Boston, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $2,930 per month, while in San Francisco, it’s $3,360

1. Define What You Want 

Most likely, you won’t have a one-bedroom apartment to yourself. However, living on a tight budget does not imply sacrificing your standard of living.

Think about what you would want and what you could not stand for a moment.

  • Here is my suggested list of items to think about:
  • Your travel time
  • Whether or not the flat allows smoking
  • Your attitude toward pets
  • the distance to the closest bus or metro station
  • If you desire a peaceful or active neighborhood,
  • If you need an elevator, a stove, an oven, a dishwasher, or on-site laundry
  • What qualities you seek in a roommate
  • Your attitude toward overnight visitors

Consider whether or not you can afford to hire a real estate broker as well.

The likelihood is that you won’t be able to if your budget is tight. In major cities, brokers often charge between 10 and 15 percent of the monthly rent. That amounts to between $1,440 and $2,160 for a $1,200 apartment. Use search terms like “no broker” or “no fee” when looking at listings if you can’t afford a broker.

2. Check Out Real Estate Apps

Download apps like Craigslist, StreetEasy, Trulia, and Zillow to stay current on the listings. You’ll discover distinct listings on each, so it’s easy to throw a wide net by checking them each day. Use any advantages that the app grants to users who register an account, such as the capacity to save searches or keep track of your favorite listings. Your search will go much more smoothly.

Enable notifications as well. Every time a new listing that meets your criteria is added, you’ll receive a notification. When thousands of other individuals are looking for locations, even a few minutes’ difference in response time can have a significant impact.

3. Don’t Waste Time Looking for a Studio

It is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to find a studio apartment that is reasonably priced in a metropolis like New York.

If you do manage to locate one, there is nearly always a significant catch, such as the fact that it is only slightly larger than a closet or lacks a bathroom. Your apartment sharing possibilities greatly expand if you have roommates.

Don’t worry if you don’t have siblings or pals to move in with. There are plenty of young professionals searching for housemates today. It will resemble online dating in many ways, but when you discover the right match, your chances of finding real (estate) bliss increase.

4. Join Facebook Groups

There are numerous Facebook groups where people advertise their available apartments. I’m very delighted a friend invited me to join a group in New York City. You can check out the lister’s social media page and put a face to the name, which makes apartment hunting more personal.

If you search for “apartments,” “listings,” or “housing” together with the name of your city, you’ll undoubtedly come across a number of groups. invite you to join them.

5. Create a Social Media Post

You’ll receive more responses the more you advertise your search. So let your pals know what you’re looking for and publish it on your Facebook profile. You can always mention a range or use phrases like “on a budget” if you don’t want to disclose your particular pricing point.

Consider signing up for roommate matching websites like or and placing a Craigslist ad for a roommate.

Include your budget, favorite neighborhoods, a little about yourself, and the qualities you’re seeking in a roommate in these posts.

Avoid responding to anyone who asks for money or personal information while doing this because they are warning signs.

To confirm that the individual is authentic, ask for connections to many of their social media accounts. A video call could be scheduled in addition to a meeting.

6. Draft Your Responses to Apartment Listings. 

It can be exhausting to respond to numerous listings. Make a standard email response that you may copy and paste, with a few small adjustments, to each listing that intrigues you in order to prevent apartment-hunting burnout.

Your preferred move-in date, what you’re searching for, and any inquiries you have about that listing should all be included in the response.

7. Be Careful

Regardless of what they say, never send money, your social security number, or any other sensitive information to strangers. Seriously, there is a vast market of con artists out there.

Wait until you have conducted some of your own independent research before you sign any documents or hand over any money. The words “fraud,” “scam,” and “lawsuit” might be used to search for the person’s name and the firm to see if anything comes up.

Always meet in a public space and let a friend know where you’re going while going to see an apartment. Investigate further or wait if you are unsure. Tomorrow, there will be additional listings.

Additionally, if you’re thinking about renting a room in someone else’s apartment, meet the person or individuals you’d be sharing it with first. You will have the opportunity to probe deeply into their way of life and customs.

8. Research new areas 

Even if you want to share the space, it can be quite challenging to find an affordable apartment in affluent neighborhoods of any city, such as Manhattan’s West Village or wealthy Brooklyn Heights. For this reason, a lot of young professionals in New York are relocating to Queens, the Bronx, and neighboring New Jersey, which are less gentrified locations.

You can find more offerings at reasonable costs if you search in less fashionable but still active neighborhoods like Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Sunset Park, Kensington, and Inwood. The local food may be far superior, and the commute may not even be that much worse.

Do some research and find out where the young professionals in your area are relocating. Look up the locations of the closest grocery stores, laundromats, and parks as well as the crime rate and bus or subway stops. Visit. Perhaps you’ll discover a suitable fit.

9. Avoid impulsive decisions.

It’s tough to look for an affordable apartment. Keep in mind to take your time and unwind. After finding an apartment, explore the surrounding area. How about it? Could you envision residing there?

Follow up as soon as you can if the answer is “Yes,” as flats rent out rapidly. If you said “Maybe,” give it some more thought. Keep yourself from being swept up in fear.

Written by Samuel Hill