Tips for Apartment-Hunting in the South

The housing market – both in the way of buying and renting, apartment-hunting – has had quite the nearly two years since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Buying homes has swung in favor of sellers, which has affected renting. Prices go up, come down, and go up again – and that, of course, depends on what area you’re looking in. 

Whether you are checking out Jamestown apartments or Atlanta homes, you should read up on not only current market trends, but past ones, to prepare yourself for the rental scene you’re walking into Apartment-Hunting.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Big Cities

Typically, big city living brings a big city price tag. These densely populated areas often have renter prices on the high end, but with the changing market that might not necessarily hold true for every location. 

The pandemic saw many people leaving metropolitan areas in favor of quiet neighborhoods. This has driven demand for rural properties up, and with it the rent per month. 

City landlords know this and are slowly dropping prices in the hopes of luring folks back to the big areas.  

Watch the Job Market

The pandemic saw a steady stream of unemployment, which is beginning to improve as the economy gets its footing and society starts to lean back to a sense of normalcy.

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 This means rent payment leniency and concessions are dissipating as people are capable of meeting monthly payments. In areas where the market is on the upswing, you may find higher rent prices due to landlords’ knowledge that folks residing in the area can make payments.

Know the Laws

Landlord-tenant laws and rights vary from state to state, so be sure to do in-depth research before even looking at a lease. 

Keep in mind that laws in the south for Apartment-Hunting skew a bit differently than the rest of the country. Southern states historically relied on agriculture, so they place a high value on land ownership. This means many housing laws swing in the favor of landlords, as a way to protect the rights of landowners and their properties.

 Be knowledgeable about security deposit requirements, who is responsible for certain utilities, what a landlord must disclose to renters, and penalties for late payments, to name a few considerations.

Educate Yourself on the Cost of Living

Take a look at the national median for these factors and see how they measure up compared to the area you’d like to move to: rent prices, commuting costs, typical utility bills, health care costs, and grocery prices, to start.

Be Aware that Rent is On the Rise, All Over the Country

Zumper’s National Rent Report shows that the median one-bedroom rent in the country has risen by 11.8 percent since March 2020, and the two-bedroom median is up 14.3 percent over the same period. 

November 2021 Apartment List National Rent Report shows that the national median rent has increased by 16.4 percent since January of 2021. To note, rental growth from January to October in the pre-pandemic years of 2017 to 2019 averaged just 3.2 percent.

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