The Perfect Unit Is Out There
Apartment hunting takes time, and it’s often hard; especially if you’re chasing a specific unit or a specific price range. Should money be no object, you simply look at units you like until you decide to buy one. You could call a place up, throw down the money, and be done. Very few people have enough resources to make such a move. It definitely means losing money.
More realistically, you’ll want to look at all the necessary factors involved in making your move. What is the average “middle-range” living wage necessary for where you’re headed? What sort of money are you making annually? What kind of commute are you able to cost-effectively sustain? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a “range”.
Many websites will list apartments by factors you enter, such as price, or locality. Remember, more expensive doesn’t always lose more money, and cheaper isn’t always better. You might have to get creative.
Crunching Some Numbers To Paint A Picture
If you find an apartment for $500 a month, but it’s forty miles from where you work, are you really saving money over a unit at $1,000 a month within walking distance from your job? That depends. If you’ve got an available public traction option within walking distance of either, that will cut out vehicular wear and tear. If you don’t, you’re losing money with every mile.
Expect wear-and-tear on 15,000 miles to average between $6,300 and $11k a year, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Let’s call it $8700 and split the difference. That’s $.58 cents a mile. If your commute is 40 miles both ways (80 miles round trip), and you take three weeks off your 9-to-5 annually, you’re looking at 19,600 miles in commute alone. That’s $11,368.
You’re paying $947.33 a month for that commute. Even though direct rent is $500, you’re actually paying $1447.33; when you factor in travel costs. If the commute were twenty miles in and out, that’s forty miles a day. Now you’re looking at $973.67 total for a $500 apartment every month. For just ten miles, you’re adding $236.83 to monthly costs for a $736.83 unit.
So in this hypothetical scenario, at about 20 miles, you’re too far from your work for your apartment to be a huge money saver, even if it’s the monthly cost is the bottom dollar. Accordingly, you might as well pay more and save more for a better unit nearer where you need to be. However, as noted, public transit out of town solves that problem, but for lost time.
Specific circumstances will impact what sort of budget you can bring to the table. Ideally, you should be able to save money over monthly expenses and discretionary spending. Even on a $3k/month paycheck, you can live pretty well if you’re savvy. Finding the right apartment is key to that.
Real estate agents can help you explore avenues of leasing possibility you might not be able to find on your own. It’s worthwhile to look at any community options in this regard. For example, if you’re looking at a Dallas move, consider services available through theurbanavenue.com – look at them as an example when vetting options in other cities.
Don’t neglect print publications, newspapers, and other local periodicals. These can have unique listings through older landlords. Don’t rule out renting a room from a non-traditional landlord; like the basement of a residential home, or something similar. Also, don’t rule out sites like Craigslist, but do be extremely cautious with such arrangements.
Hitting Your Budget
You should be able to find a decent place that fits your needs for under $1k a month. If you’re in a “roommate” situation, you can cut that to $500; even in a larger city. However, what you pay and what you have to deal with will have an inversely proportionate value. As the old saying goes, you’re going to be in your next rut a while; make it a good one.
Take a comprehensive approach that includes collaterally relevant costs like commutes. Don’t neglect to use professional options such as local real estate listings. Explore non-traditional listings as well. Such steps will provide you the widest possible spread of apartment matching needs. Look at no less than five, choose the one with the most positive attributes.