Did you know that the average American moves about 12 times over the course of their life? Many people get their start in living independently of their parents in an apartment that they rent. This is especially true of the millennial generation. Indeed, Forbes reports that studios and one-bedroom apartments make up over half of the apartment rental market because of demand by millennials. However, there might be a general shift happening in the housing market. More people are renting now than at any other time in the last 50 years and millennials are the most likely age group to do so. Around 65% of households that young adults head up were rentals (in 2016). We’ll discuss why young people are flocking to rental properties and what you should look for in an apartment.
What are the Advantages of Renting an Apartment?
For many young people these days, one of the major benefits is the fact that renting comes with much more flexibility than a mortgage. Usually, leases are for one or two years, so if a young person has to move for work, a partner, or any other reasons, they’re not locked into trying to resell a home. They can simply wait until their lease is up and make a change — or find a sublet, if their landlord is amenable.
Additionally, renting is often much more feasible financially for young people starting off. Rising student debt and a gig economy can often make it tough for them to pull the money together for a down payment on a house or to sustain monthly mortgage payments, taxes, and home improvement costs. With an apartment, the landlord takes care of those taxes and will do any necessary repairs. Furthermore, utilities can sometimes be rolled into the overall rent — some places may provide heat and hot water (or even all utilities!) so the renter won’t have that extra expense.
For those on the go, renting requires much less upkeep than a house. Certainly, you need to keep it clean and well maintained, but it’s often less square footage than a house (less to clean!) and tenants are often not responsible for things like snow removal, mowing the lawn, and doing major repairs (like repainting the exterior of the building or replacing appliances).
Renters also often need to come with less big stuff, like a stove or refrigerator. Those “necessary” appliances are often already in the apartment. In some cases, a washer and dryer might be in the building (or even in unit!) as well as a dishwasher or microwave.
What to Consider When Looking at Apartments for Rent
Some elements are subjective — if you have pets, for example, you’ll only want to look at pet friendly apartments. If lots of light is important, you’ll want a place with big windows. However, there are some aspects of an apartment that should be universal. Extra perks, like a storage unit, can be good to inquire about, if it’s not brought up straightaway.
Some non-negotiables: fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers should be up to date and working. Doors and windows should have locks that work. You should also check the cleanliness of the overall building, not just the unit. It will tell you a lot about the upkeep and maintenance that your landlord will do.
The apartment should also have good WiFi connectivity and good cell phone connectivity. As people shift more to streaming, good WiFi access is important. And having phone calls drop or texts not be able to send in this day and age will be frustrating. So be sure to check that!
It’s also worth checking water pressure, whether windows open easily, and the surrounding area. Visit a couple times — once in the day, and once at night, so you get a feel for the neighborhood.
Owning a home with a white picket fence might be turning into a more antiquated American dream. There are tons of perks to renting and it’s an especially great option for young people!