This is a sponsored post by Taylor Ryan of Apartment Showcase.
Looking for a new apartment? Keep these tips in mind to save time and money.
1. Set Your Budget
Renting an apartment should be thought of as a major financial decision. Granted it’s only for a year at a time, rent can be the largest monthly payment you will regularly make. On average, you should only spend between 20 percent and 30 percent of your monthly income on rent. For many of us, it’s a much higher percentage.
Rent isn’t cheap in Reston or in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Face it, you’re going to have to make a decision that you might be stuck with for at least a year. Let’s make sure you’re making the right choice.
First, decide on a budget. What is the price that you can live with while feasibly managing other bills, expenses, and costs that go along with living in this area? Use one of the many online monthly budget calculators like, The Budget Calculator and find out how much you can afford to spend on rent.
Once you have set a dollar figure that you can part ways with monthly, do a search based on that price. Websites like ApartmentShowcase.com do a great job of letting people search listings by rent price. See an example here on our site.
2. Know what time of year rent is the least expensive:
Did you know that rent prices fluctuate during the year depending on demand? There are multiple schools of thought on the best time of year to get a deal on an apartment. During the Summer and early Fall, you will have far more options but prices are higher. According to lifehacker.com, the sweet spot is October through December and then again from February through March. Many people aren’t willing to move during cold months or during the holidays.
3. View more than one place:
Just because finding your next place is stressful, it doesn’t mean you should just go with the first place you saw because you want to be done with it. You need to see multiple places in order to compare experiences. Visits are an important way to gain insight into what’s important to you (distance to the metro, cleanliness, friendliness of staff, noise, neighbors, etc.) Despite what you’ve read online, seeing is believing.
4. Stay Organized
Keep the apartments separate by using Google Drive to keep track of all your options. Build a spreadsheet that with the following categories in a row at the very top:
- Number of bedrooms
- Google Maps Link
- Contact name
- Contact phone
- Contact e-mail
- Property website
- Yelp/review site link
- Have I looked at it yes/no
- Visit date
Now that you are able to visualize all the information on your potential options, you can make a better decision comparing one place against another. For those that don’t want to put in the work, some apartment listing websites even compare different properties directly within the site, like apartmentshowcase.com.