My wife and I are in the awkward position of needing to find a place to stay for just a few months after we sell our current home but before our new house is finished being built.
So, we decided to go apartment shopping. However, we’ve owned houses for the last 5 years and have been out of the rental market.
We were shocked by a few things in the rental search that I never anticipated would be problems.
Rentals Are In High Demand
I didn’t expect to have problems finding an apartment to rent. I always figured there were plenty of available apartments as long as we started looking at least a month ahead of time. I was so wrong.
All of the cheaper but decent looking apartments all had waiting lists that were two to four months out. Who starts looking for an apartment four months before they need it?
We didn’t need anything fancy, but we didn’t want to live in the cheapest apartment we could find, either. Our apartment hunt was off to a frustrating start.
No One Rents For Less Than 7 Months
After we found out that our selection would be limited, we started asking questions about short term leases. We only need a rental for a few months, maybe six months at the most.
We figured it’d be best for us to find an apartment complex that would allow us to sign a month to month lease. Sadly, we discovered that not a single apartment complex we talked to offered anything less than a 7 month lease.
After further thought, it makes sense no one wants to lease month to month. Landlords risk their property and someone looking to rent month to month may not have the best intentions.
Additionally, the staff has to go through a massive amount of work to get the paperwork signed and to prepare the apartment for the next tenant. Just a couple months of rent doesn’t cover all of that additional work and cost.
Renting Is More Expensive Than We Thought
So after we found out that finding an apartment would be difficult and that we couldn’t get a short term lease, we figured that apartments were probably going to be more expensive than we thought. We were right.
Just to get an idea of what we’re used to for our housing costs, here is a breakdown of our current home.
The house we’re selling is in a cookie cutter neighborhood, has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 2 car garage and is about 1,850 square feet. Between our mortgage, insurance, taxes and HOAs, we pay about $1,000 per month for our home.
Of course, we have to pay for other things as a home owner, such as maintenance and repairs. Even with those additional costs, owning is much cheaper than renting where I live. Here’s why.
The apartment we’ll be renting costs almost $1,150 per month. The thing is, it’s one of the least desirable apartments in the neighborhood since it faces the parking lot.
The apartment is just under 1,100 square feet and only has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. There is no garage, but we could pay $100 per month for a single car garage if we wanted one.
Granted, we won’t have to pay for any maintenance, but the cost difference is huge! We’ll be paying more for a smaller apartment with no garage than we pay for a much larger single family home with a 2 car garage in a nice neighborhood.
Renting Is Short Term For Us
We don’t mind paying more to rent because we need the flexibility renting provides in the short term. However, owning a home is definitely the way to go if you don’t need the flexibility and have a strong financial foundation. At least it is where I live.
What do you think about the crazy costs of renting versus buying in my area? Are you surprised about the cost differences?