Getting a new apartment in Roanoke, VA
can be invigorating—everything is so shiny and full of possibilities!
Finding a new apartment? Not so much. If you’re renting in a hot market,
near a college, and finding a place that’s both affordable and
available isn’t usually easy.
The proof is in the numbers: In the third quarter of 2016, the average
nationwide vacancy rate was 6.8%—down from the same time the year
before. To make matters worse, rent prices are still high. A recent
report by GoBankingRates found the national average for rent is hovering
around $1,234 a month for a 678-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment. And
experts say rent prices aren’t going down any time soon.
This combo creates a sort of special supply-and-demand challenge that
only renters understand. If you’re apartment hunting soon, you might as
well prepare yourself now for that unique cycle of heartache and despair
that’s about to play out. This post will help guide you through the
five stages of grief—err, apartment hunting.
Stage 1: Denial
We’ve all done it. As soon as we pop open the laptop to start our
apartment search, we expect to find a ton of awesome listings just ready
and waiting. And then we don’t.
We keep the listings tab open all day on our browsers, refreshing every
20 minutes, and wait for Mr. Dream Rental to pop up, all the while
growing more and more desperate.
How to cope: The solution might be simple, if startling: Get offline.
Take a drive and talk to friends. We know it’s shocking in this digital
age, but not everything is posted on rental listing sites. Sometimes
you’ll have to dig a little deeper. As you scour the neighborhood, write
down names of apartment complexes you want to look into, and then look
them up online—they should have floor plans, pricing, and even
availability on their respective websites.
Still nothing? Try a Realtor or a rental broker.
As a renter, a broker can be extremely useful, especially if you’re not
that familiar with the neighborhood. Their knowledge of the renting
market and the neighborhoods can be very helpful in uncovering a hidden
Stage 2: Anger
Once you’re knee-deep in your apartment search, you suddenly remember
why you hate renting. Every single place seems to have at least one
enormous downside. You get only one parking spot. Or your washer and
dryer are outside on the patio (true story). Or maybe the landlord won’t
take your dog.
How to cope: Don’t lose hope just yet. Take a deep breath, and try to
change your approach: Remind yourself of the upsides to renting—such as
free maintenance and cheaper insurance. Stop focusing on the smaller
issues and instead focus on the bigger ones: Find a couple of places
that meet your immediate needs and then narrow them down by the biggest
factor of all: location.
If everything else is equal, then you should go with the preferred
locale. You can change almost everything else. But the location is
staying the same.
Stage 3: Bargaining
You’ve done all your homework, viewed a few apartments, and narrowed it
down to three or four places that will meet your needs—at least for now.
And then the reality starts to sink in: This is going to be expensive. Maybe there’s a special promotion you don’t know about?
How to cope: Don’t count on any discounts. Yep, it’s time for the tough
talk. You might get lucky and score a deal, but here’s what you need to
remember: The national rental market is tight right now, and there are
plenty of other renters out there happy to fork over the cash. If
affording a particular place is going to be a squeeze, you might have to
readjust your plan.
Apartment hunting is all about expectations and being realistic. If a
renter is having trouble finding something that they can afford, then
they may need to sacrifice in some manner.
It won’t be fun, but start trimming that wish list again. As you cut out
“must-haves,” you’ll find cheaper apartments that fit the bill.
For more information on apartments in Roanoke, VA contact Honeywood.