Posted Mar 20, 2015
10 Tips for a First Time Renter in San Francisco
If you’re a brand new first time renter in San Francisco, here are some tips to help acclimate you to the city.
Embrace the Idea of Roommates
San Francisco is expensive, there’s no getting around that. A one-bedroom apartment in most neighborhoods will set you back an average of $2,900 a month.
If you can’t quite swing that on your salary, consider getting some roommates. You’ll save money and have a built-in group of friends to help you navigate the maze that is San Francisco.
Save Money by Riding a Bike
A monthly pass for public transportation in San Francisco runs between $68 and $80 a month. That’s not too shabby, but you can save even more money by riding a bike.
Most areas of the city are accessible by bicycle and nearly 4% of the population uses them on a daily basis. Riding a bike is great for the environment and your physical and mental health.
Be Sure to Stay Safe
There are around 6,000 chronically homeless people living on the streets of San Francisco. City officials are making strides in their efforts to find suitable housing for the homeless and get them back on their feet, but it still has a long way to go.
Understand Rent Control
When choosing an apartment to rent in San Francisco, try to move in with a roommate who has lived there for a while because the city has rent control.
Property built in San Francisco before 1979 is included in the rent control regulations, meaning your rent can only increase by a certain percentage each year. It’s the most effective way to ensure your apartment remains affordable over time.
Prepare to Eat at Home
There are numerous places to dine out in San Francisco, but we all know that can get a little pricey.
The great thing is there are farmer’s markets around every corner in this city, so you’ll spend a majority of the time eating fresh meals at home. If you’re a smart shopper, you can avoid frequent costly trips to the grocery store.
Get Crafty with Repairs
You can save money living in an apartment in San Francisco by performing your own basic repairs. Learn a few tricks so you can fix everyday problems yourself like how to repair window seals or how to unclog your toilet.
If you’re a first-time renter and you don’t consider yourself an expert on DIY maintenance, you can always contact your landlord. Don’t try to tackle tasks that are too difficult, or you could end up making the problem worse.
Choose Your Neighborhood Wisely
San Francisco is a dynamic city and each neighborhood has its own, unique personality. Choose your new home wisely. Areas near the water like Dogpatch have a median rental rate of of $4,300 while less ritzy places like Excelsior have median rental rates in the $2,300 range.
Older Victorian neighborhoods are highly desirable in San Francisco, so you might have better luck looking into more modern settings on the outskirts of town for affordable housing. Check out the Sunset or the Richmond District.
The Hills Can Be Treacherous
The hills might make for some beautiful views, but walking them is taxing on your legs and can be dangerous (or great) for your health. San Francisco drivers, like many city drivers, make up their own rules when it comes to maneuvering the complicated San Francisco streets so be on the lookout.
The hilly landscape means you’re not always likely to see a car coming. On the plus side, you’ll always be in fantastic shape if you pick an apartment in one of these areas.
Rush Hour Lasts All Day
Getting around San Francisco is a chore. It’s a relatively small city at only 49 square miles, but that doesn’t mean everything is just a hop, skip, or a jump away.
The city is crowded and rush hour lasts all day. You’ll want to find an apartment as close to work as possible, and get yourself well acquainted with the SF public transportation system because parking is not easy in SF.
The Weather Changes on a Dime
Always bring a sweatshirt no matter where you’re going in San Francisco. When the fog rolls in, the temperature is going to drop. Don’t get caught out in a 10-degree change with nothing to cover yourself up with or you’re going to have a long, miserable day ahead of you.
Renting an apartment in San Francisco has its challenges, but most people consider the rewards worth it. Following these tips will help you settle in the right area of the city and help you acclimate to what is certainly going to be a big change of pace.
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