Hip New Housing — How Renting is Changing Up the Housing Game

As millennials age, renting seems to be the new way to go. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that many millennials are more likely to change jobs and move around and so having a fixed, permanent home isn’t as sensible. Or that many millennials are starting families later and are fine renting for the time being. Whatever the case, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies estimated that in the next decade, there would be more than four million new renters. When people think “apartments,” they often think of multi-unit buildings, but in truth, that’s changing. Almost two-fifths (four out of then) rental properties are actually single-family homes, and another fifth are made up of small buildings, with only a few units in them. The versatility of apartments for rent makes it an ever more appealing option.

The Renting Demographic 
Nearly 40 million households rent in the United States, with young adults being the majority of renters. For one thing, it’s a more affordable way to live independently — almost 80% of renters are below the age of 25. However, even between the 25 and 30 year old age brackets, a fair share still rent. The group most likely to own homes falls between 40 and 55, though at least a fifth of those over the age of 55 still rent.

Low-income and minority households also make up a majority share of renters, as do unmarried householders. However, it’s safe to say that at some point, almost everyone rents a place for at least a short amount of time. Whether that’s in college or the first year or two at a new job, renting an apartment is a typical step in one’s life.

The Argument for Looking at Apartments for Rent 
Interestingly enough, in a survey of renters, over half thought that renting was a better choice for living within a budget and for reduced stress. As mentioned above, renting does give one a bit more flexibility — given that Americans will move an average of 12 times during their life, and that jobs fluctuate more than ever, seemingly, this flexibility can be important. Instead of being locked into a 15 or 30 year mortgage, renters can pick up and move in a year or two, depending on their lease.

Furthermore, they know exactly what their rent will be every month (though it may change from year to year). For some homeowners, whose mortgage isn’t fixed, and can fluctuate, the amount they need to set aside isn’t set. And, in some areas, apartments for rent might be more cost effective than purchasing a home, especially once property taxes, school taxes, insurance, and other costs kick in.

Plus, for renters, the landlord is responsible for upkeep, maintenance, and other sundry items. Mowing the lawn, landscaping, shoveling snow, pest removal, maintaining the building itself (though not necessarily the unit) and other tasks that might otherwise fall to a homeowner, are taken care of by the landlord or someone he appoints to oversee the building.

Things to Keep in Mind With Rentals 
Be sure to cast a wide net — check out at least three or four apartments that fall into your budget when you’re looking at apartments for rent. One thing that can make a renting experience tough is a bad landlord — see if you can find out from the rental company any information on the landlord or see if there’s anything about him or her online.

Always check water pressure, test appliances if you can, test cell phone reception, and see if you can talk to any neighbors to get a feel for how the building is kept up and handled. Make sure that you get your lease agreement in writing and be sure to read it thoroughly before signing.

Whether you’re looking at renting luxury apartments or a doing a short term lease, apartments can be a practical and flexible way to have a space you can call your own.

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