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8 Tips to Help You Rent Your Dream Apartment

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8 Tips to Help You Rent Your Dream Apartment

More and more people are renting instead of buying ever since the housing bubble burst. Meanwhile, rent prices have steadily increased! For many, renting is the only option, because the barrier to saving up a down payment and getting a (sustainable) mortgage is too high. But renting doesn’t have to mean going without, whether you’re single or a growing family! There’s always a diamond or two in the rough, if only you know where to look. Here are 8 tips to help you find and land your dream apartment.

1. Ask around.

Ask everybody. There have been numerous studies showing that everyone in the country (arguably the world) is connected within six degrees of separation. As in, you know somebody who knows somebody… who knows everyone else.

A lot of people own properties that they rent out, and those people have friends. The big idea here is that you never know what’s available, or what might be coming available soon, until you ask. My wife and I once got a 3,000+ sqft renovated home for a bargain, because so-and-so that we knew had helped out the owners before. Chances are someone you know knows someone else with a steal of an option!

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2. Commit during this season.

Budget constraints are often the determining factor for getting the space you want and need. Rent contracts are usually cheapest during November, December, and January. Take advantage of it! I once got a 30% lower monthly rate just because we signed in January. If you can manage it, wait to sign a deal until one of these months, because you’ll likely be able to get a lot more bang for your buck.

3. Set up an IFTTT recipe for new Craigslist listings.

Craigslist is a goldmine of, well, just about everything, including places to rent. An IFTTT recipe is basically an automated notification system. So you can set it up to hear about every, say, 3 bed 2 bath option under $1500, and get an email whenever a new listing meets that criteria. You can always find a great deal on craigslist, but you’ve got to be quick.

4. Check the announcements.

Most neighborhoods, communities, campuses, local organizations, etc. have some sort of hub for announcements and info specific to their group. Maybe it’s a newsletter, an online blackboard, or a weekly coffee shop flyer. Whatever it is, these announcement hubs can be gems of opportunity. In some cases, this will be the only place an apartment or home is listed.

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I once found a glorious (and cheap) cottage in a wealthy neighborhood by checking my alma mater’s blackboard. That was the only place they listed it. The owners also ran a landscaping company. The place was immaculate, and within easy walking distance to parks, restaurants, and scenic hiking trails. Definitely find and check the announcement boards. It might be the only place your dream apartment is listed!

5. Look into furnished options.

Furnished options can be ideal, even if you already have furniture. After all, what makes a home a dream home is usually what fills it. And if the owners have done a good job of that, take advantage of it! I’ve used HomeSuite to find furnished listings before, but you should keep an eye out everywhere else you look, too. You may even be able to cover the rent by selling what furniture you already have!

6. Read online reviews for flexible landlords.

When you’re renting, landlords are your superheroes. Would you rather have Thor or Loki? Any rental site worth its salt will have a section for reviews on its listings. Is the landlord friendly? Quick? Flexible on price? Willing to compromise or make changes for their tenants?

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The person you rent from can easily be the difference between a dud and your dream apartment. I once rented a place that came to have mold and a broken HVAC. The landlord was entirely neglectful, and the whole thing was a nightmare. If I’d just checked the online reviews, I would have seen how bad they were without having to experience it firsthand.

7. Follow up with the owner(s).

After you view a potential home, keep a running dialog. Build a relationship. Show the owners/managers that you’re interested and that you’re a respectable person or family. They’re generally willing to cut deals or help you out if they like you and trust you.

An email asking about the neighborhood noise because you tend to be a quiet homebody, or a blurb about how this will be a perfect spot for a basketball hoop for your son can go a long way. We had new appliances installed in a place once, simply because we had a great relationship with the owners and asked for something more energy efficient than the current decades-old appliances. It was great!

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8. Don’t give up.

Timing is everything. The difference between you getting your dream home and having to settle could be the few days before a current tenant announces they’re leaving. If you can help it, don’t settle for something you won’t be ecstatic about. Don’t give up! Be patient. Your dream apartment is out there waiting for you, even if someone else is using it at the moment.

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Kenneth Burke

Director of Marketing

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

1. Camping

A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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2. Staycation

You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

3. Island Getaway

People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

4. Fancy Resort

Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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5. Road Trip

The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

6. Charter a Boat

If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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8. Themed Retreats

There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

9. Working Honeymoon

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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