Melinda Fulmer from MSN Real Estate is reporting on the most expensive cities for renters, based on “average rent.” Unsurprisingly, New York is at the top of the chart, followed by San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, the OC, Boston, Oakland, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Fort Lauderdale.
With prices high — the average in New York is almost $2,500 a month — one solution is to barter with services (including sex — why not?) rather than pay with legal tender.
Here are 5 apartment hunting tips from the first article:
* Look early. Prices are high because demand is high and supply is low. You’ll need to reserve a living space at least one month in advance if you want to find something “reasonable.”
* Do your research. Check online (you can start with apartments.com, rent.com and move.com) to see comparable rents in the area. When I was looking, I also verified any possibilities on apartmentratings.com. There will always be more complainers than praisers, so keep that in mind.
* Prepare financially. If you’re planning on living in an apartment with a typical landlord, they’ll check your credit report before approving your application. Make sure your credit is in good shape.
* Use all of your resources. Believe it or not, there are still people who don’t list apartments online. I found some of the best apartments in newspaper listings.
* Be flexible. I’m a little less flexible. When I was looking for an apartment earlier this year, I did not want to live without central air conditioning and washer/dryer units in the apartment. To find something affordable, I had to accept the fact that it was highly unlikely I’d be able to find something with the washer and dryer located within the apartment, and central air was difficult to come by as well.
Once you’ve found a place, it won’t hurt to try to barter for rent. This article has several tips for doing this. My current apartment is owned by AIMCO, a large, national corporation that has proven to be very inflexible, and they will quickly suck the money out of your wallet if you let them.
If one party of any transaction is a sucker, I would say it’s better to be on the landlord’s side of a lease rather than the renter’s side. The day that I have enough funds to buy a house, rather than build a theater in my basement, I’ll probably rent it out to a graduate student at a local university.
Published or updated August 23, 2006.