September 13, 2013

5 Tips for Finding a Cheap, Chic Apartment

You were carrying fringe handbags and wearing cream crochet dresses before it was cool. You only shop at Plato's Closet because you want to find bohemian clothes and pay less for them. Your next apartment has to fit that vibe, so you're not searching for a traditional cookie-cutter rental spot. You want a place in an affordable, up-and-coming neighborhood set near vintage shops, coffee bars and cafes; somewhere boho chic, like you.

On the Edge

If you can't afford to live in one of those trendy neighborhoods that are on everyone else's wish list, the New York Times suggests looking for an area that has similar qualities. For example, if you like the Lower East Side, but can't afford it, look at units in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, which has a similar feel.

Once you find a neighborhood that fits what you're looking for, do a search for available apartment units on ForRent. This site will allow you to compare what types of units are available in the area you like, as well as the different price ranges and features of each building.

Ugly is Good

According to TimeOut New York, finding a building that faces something that is traditionally considered ugly, such as an elevated train line, can save you money. While the interior of the apartment may be perfect, some people won't give such a building a chance, making them a real steal.

Apartments, under Hi 5 bridge, U District, Seattle, Washington, USA

Image by Wonderlane via Flickr.

Get Schooled

Families tend to flock to neighborhoods with a reputation for having great schools, which can drive the rental price for units in those areas sky high. But if you're a singleton looking for your first apartment, schools will matter very little to you. Ask locals and coworkers if they're aware of any neighborhoods that might have schools with less than stellar reputations.

Got Skills?

If you are handy and can fix things around the apartment you are hoping to rent, you may be able to strike a deal with the landlord for a lower monthly rent. If you aren't particularly handy, you might be able to barter some other skill that you have for a lower rent. Maybe you can offer to show apartments to other prospective renters in exchange for a cut in the rent.

Decorate with Discards

It's possible to fill your new apartment for free or nearly free these days. Check out Freecycle or the free listings on Craigslist for furniture that is being given away. You might be surprised how many people have perfectly good furniture they are willing to give up at no cost as long as someone will make the effort to haul it away.

You can also cruise garage sales for bargains. Go late in the morning or during the early afternoon hours when sellers are tired and just want to get rid of things. Fortunately, matchy-matchy furniture is no longer a must in a home. In fact, mixing and matching different pieces of furniture is a top trend and very boho of you.