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Whether you're searching for your first ever apartment, moving to a new city, or in need of a different sized space, looking for a place to call home can be stressful.

Here are a few tips on how to choose a rental that's right for you.

 

Define your budget

This is very important and should be the first step in your search. You don't want to end up spending so much on rent that you can't afford other necessities. A common rule-of-thumb is to spend no more than one-third of your salary on rent. This means that if you make $3,000 a month, you should aim to pay a maximum of $1,000 a month for your rental. If you're looking to rent in a more expensive area, try searching for a rental just outside of it where rental rates are often lower.

 

Start your search early

If you wait until the last minute to look for a new rental, you could find yourself with less options to choose from. Start looking 50-60 days before you plan to move to ensure that you have plenty of options that fit your budget. There will also be less competition, as many people start their apartment search 6 weeks or less before moving day. 

 

Use a professional

This is especially true if you are moving to a new city, or even a new state. A real estate broker can help you find a rental that's right for you by finding out what your needs are (budget, size, transportation, schools, and other amenities); they can then assist by searching on your behalf. Some agents have already established positive relationships with various landlords or communities, and may know when rentals are available before they are advertised on the market.

 

Following these simple steps can help you set yourself up for success and take away some of the stress of looking for a new home!