December 2011
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Find the Best Deal on an Apartment

With an election year right around the corner, many politicians are going to be arguing about whether the economy is better or worse than it was in 2008. No matter what statistics they throw at the press, most people know that times are still tough. The average person wants to know that they are making smart financial decisions and that they aren’t loosing money.

When it comes to buying real estate, there are all sorts of calculations to determine if a specific house or condo is a good investment. But how do you tell if you’re getting a good deal when renting an apartment?

Start by considering how much you can afford to pay. The general recommendation is that your rent and utilities should not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. That means that someone making $40,000 a year should only spend $1000 a month for rent plus utilities, such as electricity, water, gas, sewage, etc. If you’re spending more than that, you’re hurting your overall financial health.

Next make sure that you know what you need. Paying too much for an apartment that doesn’t have enough square footage or that has more bathrooms than you need is a bad deal. Daniel Drimmer , President of Starlight Apartments, recommends working with companies like his, which offer a variety of properties in different neighborhoods, floorplans, and price ranges, to find the unit that meets your exact needs.

It is also important to consider what the going rate for apartments is in a given area. Keep in mind that the average cost of an apartment within a single city is going to vary greatly depending on size, exact location, and amenities offered by the building or complex. Experts like Daniel Drimmer suggest that you look at prices in your target neighborhood for a range of apartments, even those that don’t suit your needs. This way you can get an idea of the typical rent and will be able to tell if a stated rent is too high or within the market range.

Lastly, make sure that you go over your lease with your landlord or property manager. You need to know exactly what deposits , utilities, and maintenance fees you are responsible for. There is nothing worse than moving into an apartment and then realizing you have to pay more than you thought for community maintenance fees or that your deposit is non-refundable.

With a little due diligence and planning you should be able to find an apartment that provides a comfortable living environment and is a good deal for your pocketbook.

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