Kovar Capital: How to Find an Affordable Apartment


Hi Taylor - I’m moving out on my own for the first time since graduating college, and I wondered if you had any tips for finding an affordable apartment? It all seems so overwhelming, and I’m not sure where to start.

Hey Vera - Congrats on the next step! I imagine it does feel overwhelming; the rent prices young people have to contend with are pretty brutal. There’s no secret solution, but if you stay proactive and try a lot of things, you’ll find something.

1.) Start online. This is the least creative option ever, but it’s still the right place to start. Zillow, Apartments.com, Facebook Marketplace, and any other option you hear about. You might not find a hidden gem on these sites, and you’ll definitely be competing with many other renters, but this is the best way to see what’s on the market. Most landlords use these rental sites, so an online search is the simple starting place—even if it doesn’t make you feel less overwhelmed. There’s always a chance you’ll find the place of your dreams and it’ll still be available. At the very least, you’ll get a broad picture of rental prices.

2.) Tell everyone you’re looking. You’d be surprised how often people find a great rental because the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend heard they were looking and has a little bungalow that just became available. If you have friends and family members who don’t know you’re apartment hunting, bring them into the loop. Make sure your parents are telling their friends because that demographic is more likely to own a rental property they might offer to you before listing anywhere else. Word of mouth is an invaluable tool when it comes to this kind of search.

3.) Have realistic standards. A lot of people get a little too dreamy when imagining the first place they get to call their own. In reality, you’re much more likely to have a studio apartment with a subpar view than half of a gorgeous duplex overlooking the river. This is not your forever home, so you need to think about getting a place you can afford with the amenities you need and a reasonable commute. The bells and whistles will come with time. If you save money on this first apartment, you’ll get to move into a fancier home a lot more quickly.

Of the three points listed above, I think you ought to focus on number three the most. This might mean finding a roommate or renting a bedroom or basement area in someone else’s home. Don’t be ashamed of a modest living arrangement. This is just one step on your journey, and it’s still very early. Good luck, Vera!