How to find cheap apartments for rent

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How to find cheap apartments for rent

So, you are interested in finding a new place to live, but you are struggling to find apartments within your budget. Searching for an affordable apartment can be overwhelming, especially with the increase in monthly rental prices lately. 

However, there are simple ways to find affordable apartments for rent within your desired area. Here are some of our top tips on how to find cheap apartments for rent. 

What income do most apartments require?

What income level a landlord is looking for is dependent on the apartment’s rent. In general, the rule of thumb is that landlords look for applicants with a monthly income that is three times the apartment’s rent. For example, if you are looking at an apartment that comes with a monthly rent of $2,000 per month, landlords would require that you earn roughly $72,000 annually or $6,000 monthly.

What to do before apartment hunting

Prior to searching for apartments, make sure you are financially secure for the move. Here are some steps to ensure this process is as seamless as possible.

Build up your emergency fund

An emergency fund is essential to ensuring financial stability. In short, this fund is a safety net to help you cover life’s unexpected expenses. It can be a great way to save up extra cash for a big move into a new apartment and cover fees that might come along the way. However, this fund is a great investment overall regardless of moving into a new apartment. Additionally, if managed well, it can help you stay afloat with monthly expenses even if unexpected financial challenges present themselves.

Set your budget

Moving into a new apartment is an expensive process. When it comes to movers, buying new household essentials, and other miscellaneous expenses, the process comes out to be quite pricey. In addition, when it comes to solely obtaining the apartment, some landlords require the first month’s rent upfront, a deposit, and renters insurance. Make sure to instill a strict budget so you can ensure to have these funds set to the side. 

Check your credit score

Your credit score will play a factor in obtaining a new apartment. Be sure to check your score and credit report to see where you stand. If you have a score below 670, look into ways to build up credit and dispute any remarks on your credit report that seem inaccurate. You can get your credit score by requesting it from one of the three credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. Additionally, some banks provide your credit score on their mobile app, such as Chase Bank.

9 tips for finding an apartment on a budget

Finding a new place should be an exciting process, not overwhelming. Here are some tips for finding an apartment that is within your budget and checks off your criteria. 

Figure out your deal breakers 

Firstly, know where to set your boundaries. Just because you are on a budget does not mean you have to make huge sacrifices for your quality of life. Deciding what your bare minimum is, is a great way to narrow down your search. This could include the location of the apartment, pet policies, certain amenities (such as washer/dryer), and much more.

Be realistic

However, make sure your deal breakers are reasonable within your price range. For example, you are unlikely to find an inexpensive studio apartment in downtown Manhattan that has a washer and dryer along with large closet space. 

However, if you are set on where you want to live and are not willing to cave to certain deal breakers, looking for roommates is a great way to find apartments within your budget. This could allow you to split costs and lower each other’s costs immediately.

Download apartment hunting apps

Knowing what is out on the market is key to finding affordable apartments and great deals. By downloading certain real estate apps, it will keep you up to date on current listings with your certain criteria. Here are some of our top recommendations for apartment hunting apps.

  • Zillow
  • Trulia
  • StreetEasy
  •  Zumper

Join Facebook housing groups

Find a Facebook housing group within your area to see what else is on the market. Typically, these groups show sublet rooms or apartments. However, there are some listings that include full apartments. By joining a Facebook housing group, you will be able to see what is on the market and if these options available better fit your needs.

Look for a roommate

Living with roommates can significantly cut down your monthly expenses. Posting a roommate ad, going on social media, or trying to find a roommate through mutual friends is a great way to get the search going. 

Additionally, there are roommate matching websites such as or that can help you find a roommate who has similar interests, routines, and cleaning habits as you. If you don’t want to share your price point in your ad, add terms such as budget-friendly to hint at what you are looking for.

Draft a reply to listings

It can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process to respond to all of the listings you are interested in. In order to avoid apartment hunting burnout, draft an email that you can send out to inquire about listings. This can save you time while also being proactive in your apartment search.

Be open-minded about the location

Even if location may be your top priority, you should try to be a little flexible when it comes to your apartment’s location. Although commuting time and safety are two very important factors when looking for an apartment, be open-minded to new neighborhoods you may have not considered prior. If those two factors are checked off, search to find areas that fill those requirements.

Avoid impulsive decisions

Although this may seem obvious, it is hard to not make a swift decision on an apartment you fall in love with. It is important to remind yourself of your budget restrictions and other requirements, such as location, utilities, and amenities. 

Additionally, you never know what is out on the market until you keep looking. However, it is important to not sign a leasing contract if you think a certain apartment’s rent is not a good financial decision for you.

Negotiate with landlords

If you want something, you’ll never know if you can have it if you never ask. Negotiating rental prices never hurts, and the worst they could say is no. Alternatively, some landlords may be open to negotiating prices, which will make it possible for you to get a better deal on your desired place. It is important to be respectful and conscientious when you negotiate since you may interact with your landlord regularly if you decide to live there. 

Find an apartment within your budget

Finding a new place to live can be an exciting new chapter in your life. It is important to set clear criteria for apartments that are within your means and desired quality of life. 

Additionally, make sure to be open-minded throughout the process and look on various different sites to know what is on the market. Apartment hunting can be unbearable at times, but having a good mindset and a clear plan will make it easier for you to find the perfect affordable apartment.


Where can I find a cheap apartment for rent?

To find a cheap apartment for rent within your area, look on websites like Zillow,, and StreetEasy.

What is considered a cheap apartment?

Depending on your location can dictate whether an apartment’s rent is inexpensive or not. Certain areas consider $500 per month to be inexpensive whereas others consider $1,500 to be spendy for rent.

Can I really afford an apartment?

To find out your apartment budget range, take your pre-tax annual salary and divide it by 40. For example, if you make $60,000 per year, look for apartments that cost $1,500 per month or less.

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