June 1,2015 | By Juliana Kagami


When looking for an apartment, people usually know what they want, but they not as often get it. The reason is because dream homes have a price, and unfortunately they are usually very high. Specialists advise that you should spend around 30% of your monthly income on rent. However, if you live in places like New York City or San Francisco, you are probably going to spend a bit more than that. These two cities are known for its high real estate prices, due to the rate of supply and demand in those real estate markets.

When looking for an apartment, you want to be realistic. Renters need to know how much can afford, and then they need to adjust their search to that price. Generally speaking, every renter is capable of describing the home they want. Location, size, amenities, features… all of these are easy to list. However, the more you add to the list, the more expensive the rental gets.

For example, in Manhattan, the approximate estimate value for new development ranges from $3240 for a studio to $8426 for a three bedrooms unit. The monthly price for a studio with a doorman ranges about $2680 and about $7435 for a three bedrooms; and the medium difference between a walk-up unit and an elevator building is of $461 per month. Thus, if you don’t want to take the stairs, be prepared to pay some extra bucks.

You should also consider the specifics of each unit, you may able to afford more than you think. For example, if you are considering an apartment that is further away from your job because it is less expensive, you should consider the commute expenses along with the opportunity cost of commute time. Sometimes, if you can walk to work instead of driving, you may allocate your commute expenses to your rent and get an apartment close to your workplace.

Something else that you should consider are luxury buildings versus non-luxury units. Luxury buildings usually have amenities such as gym, pool access and some utilities included in the rent, while the rent price of non-luxury buildings usually don’t include any of that. Thus, if you pay an outside gym, you may also apply your gym fees towards your rent instead and get into a luxury building!

Think of your all your expenses and consider the ways in which you can allocate them differently. If you need help, you may consider getting assistance from a broker to help you in your search. Contrary to what many people think, not all brokers will charge you a fee. Sometimes, the broker will collect their fee from the landlord instead. The good thing of working with a broker is that they know all units that are in the market, and they will be able to tell you exactly what your options are. They spend all day learning about the market updates and they will  be able to take you to the best deals available.