A limited budget does not immediately preclude you from finding the best apartment for your needs and current lifestyle. By partnering with reputable mortgage brokers who can help you find the apartment of your dreams, you can still find your first home without making you house poor. Here are some tips for finding the right apartment when your resources are limited.
Take your current income into consideration
Even if you’re expecting a promotion or a salary raise in the next few years, it’s still prudent to take into consideration how much you’re earning right now. Finding the best possible apartment without breaking the bank is all about identifying and accepting just how much you can afford at the moment. Take a look at your finances clearly and be objective and real about what you can pay for.
A rule of thumb is not spending more than 30 percent of your monthly income on mortgage payments. This is also a crucial consideration because you also need to qualify for a loan, and even as a tenant. Whether you’re planning to buy the home or rent it out, you will need to file an application and prove to the bank or the owners that you can afford to pay the required monthly payments.
After you’ve settled on what you can afford, you also need to take into careful consideration other expenses like gas, electricity, water, and the internet. You also need to think about parking and your furniture. If you have never been big on budgeting, now is the time to start. Establishing a detailed budget will help you answer the first question: how much you can afford right now.
Scour the internet for affordable options
When it comes to looking for more affordable properties, the Internet is also your friend. Believe it or not, it’s possible to find a home or apartment that may be on the cheaper side but is still decent enough to live in. Here are some platforms and websites you can explore to find homes on a budget:
- Facebook Marketplace has tons of listings for more affordable apartments of various sizes and types. From studio types to bigger ones, you can be sure to find something that meets your requirements and budget.
- Zillow is known for being one of the most reliable platforms for homeowners, and rightfully so. The website offers a robust line-up of tools for homeowners, sellers, renters, agents, landlords, and other types of real estate professionals. If you’re serious about finding the needle in the haystack, that one perfect home that you can invest in and increase in value, Zillow is the website for you.
- Apartments.com is another website you can look into. The platform has over a million houses, condos, and apartments, so you can be sure to find a listing no matter what state or city you’re moving to.
Remember it’s not your forever home
Accepting that you’re not in the position to find your forever home right now will help you settle for a place that you can afford. If you’re a buyer, it’s OK to accept that this is your first home and that you have plenty of time to upgrade to a bigger place later. This will help you accept a smaller space, especially if you don’t have room mates or anyone else living with you.
Know what you can’t accept
At the same time, you should also know what your deal breakers and non-negotiable requirements are to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. Just because you’re on a budget, it doesn’t mean you need to accept any scenario where you have to sacrifice your health, safety, or quality of life. Here are some examples of non-negotiable requirements to take into consideration:
- Your commute time between the apartment and your place of work
- If the apartment allows smoking
- If the landlord allows pets
- Distance to the nearest bus stop or train station
- If the neighbourhood is quiet or more bustling
- If you need a dishwasher, oven, stove, elevator, or on-site laundry
Once you know what you can’t compromise on, your list of choices grows considerably narrower.
- If all else fails, you can consider getting a room mate or a tenant if you’re planning on buying.
- In looking for an apartment, stay safe by not giving out your crucial information like your social security number to random landlords.
- Don’t be impulsive. Go over the property over and over again, and check the neighbourhood and surrounding areas too. Get a feel for it and make sure it’s a place you see yourself living for a few years.
Good luck and happy house hunting!