How To Get An Affordable City Apartment Rental In A Hot Market?

  • By: Peter Parker
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Everyone wants to live in a good neighborhood with all the conveniences in close vicinity. 

Renting an apartment in the most sought-after area is the dream of many tenants.

However, when a locality is much in demand, it is extremely difficult to compete for your dream apartment and close the deal in your favor. 

When the rental market is hot, apartment listings come and go by within a short time.

A hot rental market is a market where the apartments for rent are low and the number of people looking to rent these apartments is high.

The highest bidder gets the chance to rent the apartment. You have to compete with tens of renters, who are vying for the same apartment. 

Apart from having a good credit score, respected references, and proof of employment, here is what you must do to get an affordable city apartment rental in a hot market. 

How To Get An Affordable City Apartment Rental In A Hot Market:

1. Fix your budget:

Fix your rental budget before you start your search. It may be tempting to stretch your budget to live in your dream apartment but it is significant to remember that there will be many other costs such as security deposit, advance rent, utility bills, etc. apart from the rent. 

According to financial experts, the rent of the apartment should not be more than 30% of your income.

Over-stretching your price range may not be good for you as you will be left with little cash for savings, fun, and other expenses. 

Apply for only those apartments that fall within your price range. Remember that you have to pay an application fee for every apartment application.

Some landlords also charge for credit check and rental history check. All these charges will add up and become a burden. 

2. Start your apartment search early:

Summer is the time when most renters look for new apartments. The rents usually tend to skyrocket as many tenants are bidding for the same apartment.

To avoid competition and get an apartment at affordable rent, it is crucial to start your search earlier. 

Ideally, you must start searching for apartments at least four months before your targeted move-in date. Make a list of all your expectations and start looking for apartments that match the criteria. The sooner you start searching, the more time you will have to adjust your expectations and finalize the best apartment that fulfills your priorities and fits within your budget. 

If you are on a tight budget, focus on localities that have a higher number of apartments in your price range.

You must start your search in the first two weeks of the month because that is when you have a wide choice.

The end of the month is usually more competitive and you may have to bid higher for the same apartment. 

3. Search for newly constructed apartments:

One of the best ways to get affordable apartments in a hot market is to look out for new buildings. New apartment owners offer incentives such as discounted rent, free utilities, etc. to attract tenants. 

Make a list of new buildings in your preferred location and visit them. Enquire for units at discounted rent or for other incentives such as waiver in application fees, free utilities, reduced security deposit, etc. 

4. Search for rent-controlled apartments:

The amount of rent that can be charged on a rent-controlled apartment is capped by the state. For example, if the rent of an apartment is capped at $1000, the landlord cannot charge more than that as rent. 

Rent-controlled apartments are very few and the competition to get them is very high. You can get information about the available units on the state-specific databases

There are certain drawbacks such as the landlords may be reluctant to make upgrades or renovate the apartment since they will not be able to charge higher rent.

Moreover, most tenants in these apartments stay put so it is very challenging for new renters to find a rent-controlled apartment in the market. 

5. Rent from someone you know: 

Renting from someone you know will help to get the best deal on rent and other charges. 

Moreover, since you know the landlord personally, there will be no need for background checks and other procedures that cost time and money. 

Let your friends, colleagues, and family know that you are searching for an apartment for rent. Tell them your expectations and the price range that you can afford. Ask them for references for good apartments in your preferred neighborhood. 

6. Find a good rental broker: 

Hiring a good rental broker will help you to get a good deal while searching for affordable city apartments in a hot market.

Rental brokers are professionals with expertise in finding apartments that suit the client’s budget and preferences. 

Rental brokers have access to properties that are still not in the market. They have contacts with landlords and property agents and can find rental apartments that are not still on the market. They can also help you negotiate with the landlord to get the best deal. 

Before you hire a broker, it is crucial to check his/her reputation. Always work with an experienced rental broker to ensure that you are not scammed and get the best property within your price range. 

7. Be ready to make compromises:

The demand for rental apartments is higher in a hot market and the rents are higher. You must be prepared to make some compromises to get an affordable apartment in a hot market. 

Being flexible with your expectations will expand your options and help you find the best fit.

Make a list and categorize your preferences into the non-negotiable items and the items that can be traded off for a better price. This will aid in shortlisting apartments that are best for your lifestyle and budget. 

You can also use the apartment selection matrix to make a calculated decision on the right apartment. 

8. Prepare all your documents:

You must act swiftly to stand ahead of competitors and land your dream apartment.

Keep all the documents such as bank statements, valid id proof, credit score, recommendations, employment records, etc. ready before you start the property search. 

Take these documents along with you when you go for the apartment viewing.

If you like the apartment, you can immediately start the process and close the deal quickly. Providing the documents that the landlord asks for also helps to portray a positive impression and establishes your credibility. 

9. Use your negotiation skills:  

Finally, if you have found your dream apartment, use your negotiation skills to land the best deal.

It is easier to get a good deal if you have a good credit score and a clean rental history. Apart from the monthly rent, you can also negotiate the security deposit, advance rent, and other additional fees. 

Landlords are usually willing to reduce the rent if you are renting for a long term. Communicate why you are the best tenant and what are the benefits of choosing you over the competitors. 

10. Choose short-term rentals:

Short-term rentals are the best option if you cannot find an apartment in a hot rental market. You can find short-term rental listings on websites like Airbnb.

Short-term rental apartments are usually available for a period of one week to six months. 

Stay in a short-term rental and wait for the market to cool off before you start searching for an apartment. 

Be patient and do not lose. Finding an affordable apartment in a hot market may take some time despite your best efforts. Be persistent and keep searching for suitable apartments. 

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