According to a recent report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, one in four renters spend half their income on rent and utilities. Competition is rising as more Oklahoman’s choose to rent instead of buy. This, in turn, is driving up the demand in rental markets – pushing renters to be more strategic in their apartment hunting.
If you’re building credit, saving for a down payment or simply not ready for the responsibility of a home, renting an apartment is great. However, the search itself can be as much fun as getting a tooth pulled. We have some good news, though. If you roll up your sleeves and do a bit of homework earlier, not only will the process involve less stress – but you’ll be in a place of power when negotiating rent.
Ready to get started? Keep reading to learn our industry secrets for scoring the best deals on apartments in Oklahoma.
The Best Time(s) of Year to Rent
Aside from your current lease or living situation, finding a good deal starts with timing. For example, if you’re searching for an apartment in a town with lots of college students, waiting until September can allow you to secure a better rate. This is because apartment communities are pushed to fill vacancies. And because it’s often slower in spring and autumn, the demand is down so you’ll encounter more price-drops.
The Best Places to Start Your Apartment Search
To find the best deal on apartments in Oklahoma, you’ll need to start searching online. Sites like rent.com and apartments.com are great for side-by-side comparisons. However, they may not include all the pricing details so it’s best to reach out to the complex itself once you’ve narrowed down your choices. Another place to look is individual property management sites. The most important thing is to be persistent and checking listings on a regular basis.
Another thing to do when searching for apartments is taking your search to friends and family. Let them know you’re looking for a place. Sometimes you’ll find out about a developing community before it’s on the market. Other times, you’re able to gain good leads or even a roommate!
Assess the Rental Market
Once you’ve narrowed your search and found a couple places you’re interested in, do a comparison search to identify if the rent is competitive with the rest of the market in that area. Sites like hotpads.com and rentometer.com are great resources that analyze how a complex’s rent compares with others nearby.
If you’re not in a rush, you might consider a smaller, less costly floor plan with the same number of bedrooms. Or, if your heart is set on a city-central apartment and you can’t afford the rent, expand your search to the surrounding neighborhoods. You’ll often find that nearby apartments provide similar if not identical features with better rates.
Ask About Incentives
When speaking with a leasing agent or touring an apartment, ask if they offer any incentives for new resident (or renewals). For example, most places will offer you a lower price if you sign a 12-month lease versus a 6-month. Some apartments also waive application fees or offer bonuses for referring a friend to the complex.
Weigh the Amenities
Having troubles deciding between two properties? Bring your focus to the amenities each one offers. For example, one may cost less but the other offers free wi-fi and a 24-hour gym. Determine the potential cost of the amenities and take them into consideration when making your final decision. One may offer you short-term savings while the other may be more affordable in the long-term.
You may be feeling all sorts of pressure to sign the dotted line. But, going into the conversation with research and market comparisons gives you more negotiation power when it comes to price. And, keep in mind; rent is always something you do until you buy a home. The more time and effort you put into any apartment search, the happier you (and your wallet) will be.
Searching for an apartment in Norman, OKC, Edmond or Tulsa? Our Northstar Properties team is here to help. Reach out to us at (405) 310-6450 to schedule a personal tour of our communities today!