How can I find an apartment or house?
Ask your friends about any “For Rent” signs in their neighborhood, and check your own neighborhood for signs. Check the classified section of the local newspapers that cover surrounding communities. Look at apartment listings on the internet. The local public library has copies of the local newspapers available, as well as free internet access.
When you find apartments or homes that you can afford, start looking at them! Keep in mind that there is no perfect unit or perfect landlord. You should make notes of the surroundings (neighborhood, parks, shopping malls, access to main roads, bus line, etc.) and the quality of the rental unit. Your notes can help you compare different apartments or homes.
How should I start looking for an apartment or house?
You have the best chance to get a good place if you know what you need and plan how to get it. Begin your search by answering the following questions:
How much can you afford to pay for rent, utilities (gas, electric, water, sewer, trash removal, recycling, heat, cable), and other necessities? A general rule is that your rent should equal one week’s gross pay (pay before deductions) or about one-fourth of your gross monthly income. As more of your monthly income goes to paying the rent, the less you will have to buy other necessities and pay bills. If you have trouble handling money or following a budget, credit counseling is available to help you.
When will you need housing? Pick an exact date. Give yourself enough time to find a place.
What kind of housing do you need? An apartment or a house? How much space do you need? What furniture or appliances will you need? For example, do you need a yard for children, a ramp for handicapped access, or a first floor for a family member who cannot use steps? Do you have resources to make your own modifications to the rental property or do you need a place that is already accessible?
Where do you want to live? A particular town or city? An area of town or a specific neighborhood or school district? Do you and your family need to be near work, school, or bus routes?
Some agencies will have lists of landlords who participate in their programs. Others may have websites that include private rental units, public housing, subsidized housing and low income housing tax credit properties. There may be waiting lists, but you cannot move up a waiting list unless you are on it so apply right away!
The key to success at finding and keeping good housing is: DO NOT WAIT until the last minute to get help. ACT NOW!
If you need immediate housing due to eviction or other circumstances, you may need to rely on family, friends, or hotels temporarily. You may be able to get into a shelter, but most shelters have waiting lists or limitations on who can stay there or how long you can stay.
How can I budget my money? Example for single person