Rent is one of the many expenses that can vary quite a bit depending on where you live. And the more expensive it gets, the more important it becomes to find the right place the first time. Here are some helpful tips to help you find an apartment in some of the more expensive cities in the U.S.
Los Angeles, California
- Median studio apartment: $1,405
- Median one-bedroom apartment: $1,740
- Median two-bedroom apartment: $2,406
If you want to get an apartment in LA, the first thing you need to understand is your budget. You shouldn’t be spending more than 1/40th of your annual gross income on an apartment. So if you are making only $40,000/year before taxes, you need an apartment that costs less than $1,000 a month. The choices in this price range will be limited, so you may need creative alternatives such as finding one (or multiple) roommates.
- Median studio apartment: $1,675
- Median one-bedroom apartment: $2,190
- Median two-bedroom apartment: $3,110
The District of Colombia is home to roughly a $500 leap in average rental cost from L.A.; mainly because the people who need to live near the Capital really do need to live there. If a DC apartment is on your list, be ready to research the place online. Look at it from Google Street View, and also search for the address on the local tax assessor’s website. Look for signs of disrepair, poor construction, or other things that might indicate to you that it is not worth what they’re asking. And don’t forget to look up the neighborhood as well to make sure it’s not a slum.
- Median studio apartment: $2,000
- Median one-bedroom apartment: $2,965
- Median two-bedroom apartment: $3,505
Boston manages to squeeze out the single most expensive one-bedroom average price in the entire US, which knocks it way up the list. Finding an apartment in Boston that will be suitable and affordable will usually mean searching when landlords are the most desperate; around the 23rd of the month. This is when they start dropping prices in hopes of getting someone to move in by the 1st. Jump on that.
New York City, New York
- Median studio apartment: $2,300
- Median one-bedroom apartment: $2,950
- Median two-bedroom apartment: $3,550
You knew it was coming. NYC rents are legendary, and they definitely live up to their reputation. If you are one of the millions trying to make it to the Big Apple, you may need to start getting into advanced cost-saving measures such as downsizing into a micro-studio or taking on multiple roommates to share the bills. It can be done, but it will take serious work.
San Francisco, California
- Median studio apartment: $2,295
- Median one-bedroom apartment: $2,898
- Median two-bedroom apartment: $3,930
Edging out New York by a scant couple of dollars, San Francisco is the most expensive place in the nation to rent. Renting here is best done by getting personal with your landlord, and offering a deal they can’t say no to. Be willing to do something extreme. For example, offer to pay only 70% of the asked rent, but along with that offer, tell them that you’re… A. The best tenant they’ll ever have (which you have to then live up to!) B. Willing to move out within 72 hours without complaint for any reason at all.
That’s the kind of dedication it can take to find the right place in San Fran; but if you live up to your end of the bargain and actually are a perfect tenant, you will find it very rare that anyone will actually kick you out. Most landlords would rather have 70% of the money on time every month with no damage to the unit and no complaints from the neighbors than risk taking on a problem tenant for that extra 30%.