Newlywed’s Guide To Finding An Affordable Apartment

August 27, 2008

For those of you who decided that buying a house isn’t right for you at this point in your life, your next step is finding an affordable apartment or rental house. In Florida, rent for apartments and houses has sky-rocketd, because the demand has increased so much. In metro areas of cities in Florida such as Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, and West Palm Beach, it’s tough to find a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment for less than $1,000.00. This is a lot of money for a new couple starting their life together. So, is it possible to find an affordable rental? Let’s walk through this together.

First, check websites like your local Craigslist in the “apts / housing” section. My wife and I always check this when we’re looking for rentals. We also check it for for-sale, buy-owner houses. You need to watch out for Craigslist, because there are a ton of scammers on there. Never send any deposit money via Western Union or any other crazy delivery method. Craigslist is great for finding individual landlords looking to rent their properties at a discount price and individuals renting out their home or condo that didn’t do well on the sales market.

Second, check with your network of friends and family to see if they know anyone with a property for rent. Landlords are more willing to negotiate a deal with tenants that they can trust. A direct referral from someone they know is a good way to get an apartment at a discount price.

Third, don’t forget your negotiating skills when renting an apartment. Some people don’t realize that they can negotiate rent price and lease terms. Just because someone posts $1,000 for the rent doesn’t mean you need to accept it. This is harder to do with large, corporate-owned rental properties, because their demand and marketing budget is high enough to dismiss those that are looking for a deal. But, you can definitely negotiate with the everyday landlord. Ask them to reduce the security deposit, reduce the lease term, or trade work for money off the rent. If you’re a good landscaper or a handy around the house, ask them to take $100 to $200 a month off the rent in return for you maintain the home. Just make sure the landlord is still paying for the materials and supplies.

Lastly, find an apartment or rental home off the beaten path. Never sacrifice your safety for a cheaper rental, but there are plenty of nice, underdeveloped areas with cheaper rent. Look five miles away from “the hot spots” in town, and there is where you’ll find the deals. Apartments above the garage of an older couple’s property are also rental gems at a discount price.

Are you ready for the challenge? Don’t settle for paying $1,200.00 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment just because it has a nice pool and an exercise facility. Some cities make it tough to find cheaper rent, but the majority of you live in suburban America, and the deals out there. You just need to do your research, ask friends and family, and scour the internet classifieds.

These tips for helping newly married couples on find an apartment are part of the Marriage Money Guide.

Erik

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Erik
Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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