Good cheap apartments are like striking gold in New York. It’s the prize that keeps giving month after month, and year after year. A good cheap apartment can save you tens of thousands of dollars in rent over just a few years of renting.
The only problem is that cheap apartments usually are only available in “bad” neighborhoods. High crime and bad building conditions usually come with cheap apartments. Nobody wants to be in a building without heat, hot water, vermin infested, crime ridden, or with the smell of urine in the hallways. Many buildings with cheap apartments might also be loud, full of kids, and sometimes drug dealers.
But the correlation isn’t 1 to 1. There are GOOD cheap apartments out there, if you are willing to look for them and go to 2nd or 3rd tier neighborhoods. The number 1 thing to keep in mind is that the building will never be better than the landlord. When you find a good cheap apartment, it’s critical that you have an extended and candid conversation with the landlord. You’ve
got to size them up and decide if they care about their buildings and about keeping good tenants. If they care, and you make it clear that you will be a caring tenant, you may be able to come to an understanding that you will help each other – above and beyond merely paying the rent in full and on time.
We have an excellent section in our apartment guide – The Essential Guide for Smart Renters – that can help you with the kinds of questions that you should ask your prospective landlord. Remember, ask the questions now – before you sign a lease. If you don’t like the answers, or you don’t like their attitude because you are questioning them, then walk. Fast. They won’t get better over time. They will get worse.
One last thought. If you are looking for a good apartment for rent that is cheap, you should be thoroughly prepared, including having a cover letter for your application. If you’re not sure what it means to be thoroughly prepared, or your not sure what the cover letter is for and what it should contain, you must read our apartment guide, The Essential Guide for Smart Renters. After all, it’s hard to find a really good cheap apartment. When you do find it, you want to do everything you can to get the apartment. The renter’s guide will teach you how.