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Housing
Apartments     Furnishings    Houses    Security
Apartment

The various steps involved in finding proper accommodation are as follows:

  1. Deciding to lease or buy
  2. Fixing a budget
  3. Should you appoint an agent?
  4. Conducting a search
  5. Inspecting the property
  6. Signing the contract

Deciding to lease or buy

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to many Americans. The decision to lease or buy an apartment largely depends on your long - term plans. You could buy an apartment if you plan to stay in the US indefinitely. Leasing would be a better option if you plan to leave the US once your purpose of the visit is accomplished.

Fixing a budget

Budget plays a vital role in the type and location of the apartment you are looking for. As a rule of thumb, about 20% to 25% of the family's income goes towards rent. If you live in an expensive city, you might have to pay up to 50% of your income towards rent.

Apartment prices

Apartment prices can be divided into the following three categories.

  • Inexpensive
  • Moderate
  • Highly Expensive.

Apartment rents are generally lower in the city's downtown areas. However, downtowns are known for their higher crime rate is not generally advisable to stay there, especially people with families. Apartment prices increase as the location nears the city's center.

A typical apartment rent includes one bedroom, one bathroom, balcony or patio, dining cum living room, refrigerator, and kitchen with dishwasher. In certain cases, it may also come with washer/dryer and a microwave. Floor plans are in the vicinity of 750 - 900 Sq. Ft.

If you are single, you could get a studio apartment (400 - 500 Sq. Ft.) which are about $100 less than one bedroom apartments. Two bedroom apartments cost about $150 more than the median cost of one bedroom apartments. Most apartment complexes have a playground and a swimming pool. More expensive apartments come with tennis courts and gymnasium and sometimes even a Jacuzzi facility shared by all residents.

Apartments usually charge a certain amount of money as security deposit (often this is a month's rent and can range from $250 to $500). The deposit is returned back once the lease period expires. All apartments are given on a lease period, typically one year for the prices mentioned above. Shorter leases such as six months cost about $20 more.

Average apartment prices in major cities in the US

These prices reflect average cost of a one - bedroom apartment in some of the major cities in the United States. For more specific information, please check up http://www.rent.net
 

State City One bedroom
Alabama Birmingham
$475 - $600
Arizona Phoenix
$450 - $550
California San Francisco
$1200 - $1300
Los Angeles
$800 - $1000
Colorado Denver
$700 - $800
Connecticut Hartford
$585 - $700
Delaware Dover
$500 - $570
Florida Boca Raton
$700 - $800
Florida Jacksonville
$435 - $545
Florida Tampa
$400 - $525
Georgia Atlanta
$500 - $600
Lowa Des Moines
$400 - $500
Kansas Kansas City
$485 - $600
Kentucky Louisville
$500 - $600
Louisiana New Orleans
$400 - $550
Maine Portland
$600 - $700
Maryland Baltimore
$490 - $550
Massachusetts Boston
$900 - $1100
Michigan Detroit
$400 - $620
Minnesota Rochester
$535 - $640
Missouri St Louis
$500 - $600
Nebraska Omaha
$480 - $600
New Hampshire Portsmouth
$650 - $750
New Jersey Edison
$750 - $900
New York Albany
$600 - $700
Buffalo
$450 - $550
New York City
$750 - $850
North Carolina Charlotte
$480 - $580
Durham
$530 - $630
Raleigh
$550 - $620
Ohio Cincinnati
$450 - $550
Columbus
$380 - $480
Dayton
$500 - $600
Oklahoma Oklahoma City
$385 - $500
Pennsylvania Pittsburgh
$470 - $570
Philadelphia
$450 - $550
South Carolina Charleston
$400 - $500
Tennessee Knoxville
$460 - $560
Memphis
$480 - $560
Nashville
$500 - $600
Texas Austin
$500 - $650
Dallas
$530 - $630
Utah Salt Lake City
$570 - $700
Virginia Charlottesville
$545 - $635
Richmond
$580 - $680
Wisconsin Madison
$450 - $550
Milwauke
$620 - $720
Washington DC Washington DC
$700 - $850

 
Should you appoint an agent?


If you plan to buy an apartment, condominium or a house in the US, then it is a better choice to appoint an agent. A housing agent usually charges 1% to 2% commission of the total purchase price of the apartment.

You could also appoint an agent for renting an apartment. Agents also conduct the required research on your behalf.

Conducting a search

The apartment search can be done through agents, newspaper classifieds where you find the advertisements of the exact housing type categorized by location as well as those of the housing agents advertising themselves. You can also search an apartment on the Internet. For searching an apartment on the Internet, you may visit the following sites.

http://www.apartementworld.com
http://www.rent.net
http://www.aptbiz.com
http://www.aptsforrent.com

Inspecting the property

Before purchasing/renting any property it is always suggested to inspect it closely. You can even ask specific questions and it can be continued until you get a satisfactory answer.

To be thorough, once you find a house that seems to suit you, you could hire an inspection company professional (usually for about $300), to look through every part of the house and give you a detailed report on possible problems. You could find such a service in the Yellow Pages under "Inspection Bureaus". Make sure that the inspector is independent of the owner and the real estate broker.

Signing the contract

Some useful tips before you sign the contract.

Rental contract

You must pay careful attention to the clauses in the rental contract. If you are not clear, seek clarification immediately.

  • Know the lease terms - It is very important to know the period for which you are leasing the property. You are obligated for the entire lease period unless the landlord releases you.
  • Know who is responsible for repairs - It is very important to know who is responsible for repairs, you or the landlord. This has to be clearly stated in the contract.
  • Security deposit and utilities The specific rent amount and the security deposit should be mentioned clearly in the contract. Who will be paying for utilities like water, electricity should be clearly negotiated.

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