Apartment Rentals: The Dos and Don’ts of Looking for Cheap Apartment Rentals

Are you looking for an apartment to rent, but are you also on a tight budget? If so, most of your focus is going to be on finding cheap apartment rentals. As you know, these cheap rentals do have their pros and cons. When shopping around for living arrangements that you can afford, please keep these dos and don’ts in mind.

DO know that cheap rentals do exist. It is common for us to automatically assume that cheap apartment rentals are nothing but a dump. Yes, some of these units are less than appealing; however, you will come across a number of legitimate affordable units, rooms, and houses for rent. For example, lets say that a little old lady is renting a room out. She is more looking to have someone on the property with her for safety reasons than to say make a profit. For this reason, she is likely to charge a cheap rental rate.

DON’T forget that rental scams do exist. If you use a website like Craigslist to search for apartments for rent, you may come across a few scams. Many of these scams attempt to grab your attention with cheap rates. Many times scammers steal legitimate listings from another landlord or a real estate listing online. The number one rule of renting any apartment (regardless of the price) is to schedule a showing inside; make sure it exists that that you will be handing money to a legitimate person and not a scammer.

DO inquire about additional costs. Sometimes a rental unit looks cheap upfront, but when you look closer the actual cost of renting the place is high. For example, say you are used to renting apartments with utilities included. If you typically pay $1,500 with utilities included, an apartment listed at $1,200 sounds cheap; that is until you learn you must pay for your heat, hot water, electric, garbage, and parking. All costs, aside from your television, internet, and phone extras, should be figured in with your overall rental costs.

DON’T be afraid to do a head to toe inspection of the property. As previously stated, there are a lot of cases in which rent is low because the apartment for rent is a dump. It is okay to rent a less than par place if you know this going in; it is your decision. What you don’t want to do is find a crappy apartment that needs a lot of repairs; repairs that weren’t too visible at first. A landlord who attempts to hide these repairs or rent out the establishment as-is likely isn’t going to be one who comes around often to fix those issues. Consider a dump being advertised for rent as a possible slum apartment.

DO checkout the neighborhood and speak to the neighbors. Another common reason why cheap apartments are found is due to the neighborhood. Areas with high crime or bad neighbors often have dirt cheap prices because the landlords knows that without this steep price difference no one is going to give their rentals a second look. Before you sign the lease, meet with the neighbors. If renting a single family or multi-family home, consider driving by the rental at various hours throughout the day to catch different glimpses.

DON’T forget to closely review the lease. In fact, when doing so make sure that rental costs and increases are covered. You will occasional find that some legitimate landlords, but borderline scammers, raise the rental fees up a hundred dollars after a couple of months. Make sure your lease mentions that your rental fees are locked in for the length of your lease. This ensures your cheap rental stays cheap.