January 25, 2023
How to rent an apartment in America?
It might seem that in order to rent an apartment in the USA, you need to have a legal residence, a job and some proof of your status. No, the dwelling of everyone, whether a tourist or a person considers himself illegal.
Before you rent an apartment up to the amount of your earnings. Americans watch this carefully and the owner of the apartment, as a private person and as a company, will ask you to calculate your income, usually by showing the balance of the account or two – the last four transfers. If you are unable to provide the required income, then use the help of a guest who signs as an apartment with you (so-called co-signer).
You can sign a rental contract for 12 months, 24 months or month to month. Interruption of the loan period and early departure, which resulted in advance payments and duration for the next month or commitment until the end of the contract.
Where is the best place to look for offers of apartments for rent?
There are many websites to choose from – the most popular are rent.com, apartmentlist.com, apartments.com, and www.craigslist.org, which is the most popular portal for finding all kinds of things: apartments, jobs, services offered, as well as items of all kinds , often for sale for a symbolic amount or to give away for free. It’s also a good source of information on current prices, so even if you’re just trying to figure out the rental price, craigslist is a good reference.
I found my first apartment in California via craigslist.org – the apartment complex I lived in advertised there as well.
How to search for flats on craigslist?
After entering the address www.craigslist.org into the search engine, we select the state and main town closest to our target area. In my case it was California and around Malibu / Calabasas. On the left you will see the categories of ads. We are interested in housing -> apts/housing. There is also a rooms/shared option for those who are only looking for a room to rent.
Then, at the top, we have tabs specifying the districts or areas in which we are looking for an apartment. If we do not have a specific desired area yet, we stay with the first, main tab, which contains all the others.
Below, we can enter a keyword, e.g. the exact city we care about, or other elements of the apartment that are important to us. I usually leave this field blank to have as many options as possible.
We can enter the max price, just like in any other portal, but we can leave it blank to see what we can get in different variants. Next, we choose the number of rooms.
Types of housing in the USA
America differs from European countries in that the number of rooms is given by specifying the number of bedrooms. In general, when talking about the size of apartments, everyone is always guided by the number of bedrooms. For example, a 2 bedroom is most often in our understanding a three-room apartment, i.e. 2 rooms, a living room, a kitchen. In addition, the number of bathrooms is often added and then the full description of the apartment is: 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom. Americans like to build apartments so that the bathrooms are assigned to the bedroom, so you can often find the 2BR 2 Bath layout, i.e. 3 rooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen.
Calling rooms “bedroom” in the US may initially give the misleading impression that they are only bedrooms. But in fact, of course, you can arrange them for anything else, e.g. office, guest room, children’s room, etc. In addition, a studio apartment is referred to as a “studio” and in search engines it appears as “0” rooms.
Then we have a choice of types of apartments. These terms can have different meanings in different regions, but in general it goes like this:
An apartment in a housing estate that is rented through a leasing office. Quite a nice option, especially at the beginning, when you do not want to worry about the service of the apartment and the estate and help in the event of a breakdown. Usually, these apartments have several types of layouts, are basically furnished and equipped in exactly the same way (furniture, appliances in the kitchen and bathrooms). In addition, there are often very pleasant attractions for residents, such as a gym, swimming pool, billiards, barbecue area, tennis court. In California, there are also very nice areas, beautiful greenery, palm trees, an outdoor swimming pool, and this definitely attracts and makes time more pleasant.
Community Apartments have undoubted advantages, but there are also some disadvantages. In America, houses are built mainly of wooden boards, which results in frequent reminders to neighbors, and vice versa. Often you can even hear ordinary footsteps above your head, water flowing in pipes in the wall, sometimes even louder conversation or a neighbor’s TV set on. Therefore, when renting an apartment in Community Apartments, there is a dilemma whether to rent an apartment at the very top (usually there are no elevators and there are about 3-4 floors) and not hear anyone above you, or more comfortable, downstairs, but with the risk of noise.
In Poland, the name condominium means private, single-family houses on a common estate. Here I have come across various uses of the word, but officially it should refer to similar apartments as Community Apartments, only that each apartment is owner-occupied.
Detached house. Most often with a piece of plot / yard, fireplace and garage. A great option, usually more expensive than a housing estate of the same standard.
Usually a two- or three-story house in a row house.
This is a smaller house/apartment on the grounds of the larger main house.
These are the basic categories, the others are derivatives of those listed above. Since they are less typical/popular, it’s best to just check for yourself what is hidden under them. It is best to choose the option “any housing type”, i.e. all available types of apartments / houses.
Then I recommend selecting the “pic” option, i.e. selecting offers only with photos and choosing the gallery option in which the photos are clearly visible. In addition, you can browse offers in terms of permits to have a dog or cat.
While the advertisement does not say that the apartment is furnished, the pictures with the furnished interior are only to look nice, and in fact none of this furniture is included in the rental.
Then it remains to contact the authors of the selected ads, ask if the ad is still valid and make an appointment to see it. Sometimes there are exact phone numbers or e-mail addresses, but often there is no data and we have to reply by clicking the “reply” option at the top of the advertisement. This option allows you to keep an anonymous address for both the author of the offer and the person responding to it.
In some ads you can find information about Open House, i.e. the period when the apartment is open to the public for viewing. In that case, you don’t need to make an appointment.
Much depends on the owner, and sometimes you can get along on special terms, but most often you need to show off an excellent credit history and sometimes you need references from the owners of previous apartments in which you lived.
If landlords want to check your credit history, you’ll usually have to pay a fee of around $30 and fill out a detailed form about yourself and other tenants. Then, based on the form and credit, the owner selects the best candidates in his opinion.
Prices for renting apartments in the USA
When it comes to rental prices in the US, there are so many factors and prices vary so much that there is no single answer. In California itself, a lot depends on the exact location of the apartment, and just like everywhere else – on the size and standard.
1. What is the average rent in California?
The median rent in California is $2,950. This is $852 more than the national median.
2. How has the rent in California changed in the last year?
The median rent price in California for February 2023 is $2,950. This is $57 more than February 2022.
3. How much has the rent in California increased/decreased in the last month?
The median rent price in California February 2023 is $2,950. This is $4 less than January.
4. How many available rentals are there in California?
There are currently 51,230 rentals available in California.
If I had to outline some price ranges at least in southern California, i.e. Los Angeles and Orange County, the typical standard range of monthly rental prices (with a 12-month contract) is as follows:
- Studio – $1600 – $1800
- 1 BR – $2000 – $2500
- 2 BR – $2500 – $3500
- 3 BR and more – from $4000
- Studio – $1800 – $2000
- 1 BR – $2100 – $2500
- 2 BRs – $3200 – $4500
- 3 BR and more – from $4500
Generally, housing prices in the US fluctuate a lot, but be prepared to spend anywhere from $1,000 (small towns, small apartments) to $4,500 a month (bigger houses, better neighborhoods). In California, over $5,000 you can count on the luxury standard of smaller apartments or the usual standard of large houses.
If you have any questions, information, or want to share your own experiences related to renting apartments, I strongly encourage you to add comments or send emails. We will be happy to read, answer and, if possible or necessary, we will give you some insights.