4. Wait it out
There are times of year when rents tend to increase and flats become harder to find.
The beginning of the year, for example, is often a difficult time, as it’s when students start university and relocate to different cities. This means the rental market is usually in a frenzy from January to March.
If you have a bit of leeway, pick quieter times of the year to look for a flat; you’ll have more choice, and, if you’re the only person applying to live in a vacant apartment, you’ll have a lot more bargaining power than those competing with a dozen other people.
5. Live in the suburbs
Generally speaking, the further away from the centre of the city you get, the cheaper the rents will be. Think about your lifestyle, travel habits and social life. And then choose a cost-effective suburb that allows you to maintain as much as your current way of life as possible.
Don’t rule out any suburbs until you’ve thoroughly researched them, either. The housing market is constantly changing and suburbs are being transformed with new builds. It might pay to revisit suburbs you ruled out a few years ago to see if they now fit your requirements.
6. Take advantage of any extras
When comparing different apartments, make sure to factor building amenities into your calculations, too.
You could save money on a gym membership by using the gym in your apartment complex, or on venue hire for your next party, if your apartment building comes with a cool rooftop terrace.
An apartment with a car park presents another great saving, too, eliminating the need for costly permits or street parking. Likewise, close proximity to a cheap supermarket could save you heaps on your weekly grocery bill.
Remember: Signing a tenancy agreement doesn’t lock you into an apartment forever, and building some savings in your 20s is always advisable. After all, you can always live in a swish pad once you’ve made it.
So, consider looking at older flats, rather than state-of-the-art, inner-city condos. They’re a lot cheaper, and some are quite charming, too.