Posted May 4, 2015
How to Balance Luxury and Cost When Apartment Hunting
Luxury apartments these days are truly epic places. With features such as granite countertops, multiple bathrooms, hardwood floors and central air, one might feel like they are living in a hotel. And then there are buildings that offer additional amenities like community lounges and bicycle services.
You may dream of living in such a place, but the monetary reality certainly hits hard. More likely, when apartment hunting, you’re constantly trying to balance luxury and cost in your mind. Fortunately, you can move into a nice place without going broke. Here are tips for getting as close as possible to luxury while still spending within your budget:
Define a Budget Range
Instead of setting a hard and fast number as your rent budget, come up with a range. You must be able to afford the maximum, perhaps by shaving a little restaurant dining or clothes shopping from your budget. The minimum should be your ideal rent.
When inputting search parameters, look for apartments that fall into this range. Chances are, apartment hunting this way will show that the higher you go, the more luxury you’ll get. However, finding less expensive backups ensures you’re not high and dry come the end of your lease.
You may be pleasantly surprised and find an apartment you really love at the midrange of your budget, but for luxury, you may have to go to the maximum.
The closer you are to downtown areas, the higher the rent will be. By that logic, you can get more for your money if you look farther out. If you’re willing to distance yourself from your metropolis of choice, you could find a more luxury apartment that’s worth the distance and that falls in your budget range.
Additionally, some city neighborhoods are more expensive than others. Be open to exploring neighborhoods you may not have considered before and you could find more affordable, nice apartments.
When you have a tight budget, you may not be able to get all the luxury amenities you want out of your dream apartment. But that’s what priority lists are for!
List all the amenities you want, then rank them. For instance, granite countertops may not be as important as central air. Use this list to guide you as you check out apartments. Tour units that have your top priorities, and if they have some others, great! Also note which amenities you’re totally willing to live without.
Usually, rent cost would be factored into your priorities, but in this case, file it separately– you already have your rent range, so use that as a search parameter along with your priority list.
Make a Comparison Checklist
As you tour apartment after apartment, you may forget which places had which amenities. Because you’re trying to get the most for your money, you want to keep things straight. You can do that by creating a checklist of some sort.
In one column, write every amenity you’d like to see, including things like “low end of budget” and “has laundry in apartment.” Then, write down the address of each place you view at the top of your spreadsheet or paper. When you view apartments, check off what features they have.
When you review your list, you can quickly see which places have the most features. You can also compare those features to see which space hits the items on your priority list and still falls within your budget range.
If you have a great credit score, steady job and shining referrals, and you want to stay for more than a year, you’re in a position of power. Many landlords won’t negotiate, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Lay out the reasons why you’re a great tenant and ask if the landlord will drop the price if you sign for a longer period.
The extended piece is your bargaining chip– what landlord doesn’t want the perfect tenant for a long time? Finding an apartment that has luxury features and is within your budget is a challenge, be patient and open-minded, and you’ll find your perfect apartment match.