When I was looking for an apartment online, I typed in the amount of rent I could afford and perused the results. Depressed by the meager options, I plugged in a few thousand dollars more than I could afford – just for fun. I ogled at pictures of gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and read about the luxury of having six bathrooms. It felt great until I drifted back to reality. Before you start your search, know your numbers. Consider the following:
• 30 percent. The popular rule is no more than 30 percent of your income should go to rent. You’ll need money leftover for food, entertainment, savings and emergencies.
• Debt load. If you have unpaid bills and owe money for student loans, you might want to consider paying even less rent so you can deal with your debt.
• Budget preference. Consider whether you want to live in an incredible apartment with a tight budget, or a mediocre apartment with the flexibility to have a little fun.
• Roommates. Sharing the rent with others can significantly lower individual costs and you might be able to afford a bigger, nicer place.
For more information about renting an apartment, check out these helpful tips about negotiating a lease, understanding your rights and protecting yourself with renters insurance.by sophie