Good, affordable housing is one of our most basic needs. A quick Google search of “rooms for rent near me in Atlanta” brings up a lot of options – but how do you sift through the scams and find the safe, comfortable, and affordable space you need? Between Instagram-enhanced pictures, dated build-outs, and strange roommates’, the pitfalls are many.
Atlanta is booming. There are great jobs to be found in and around the city, and the food, arts, and culture can be found around nearly any corner of the city’s core. However, the more desirable the city, the more difficult finding an affordable room to rent that is near your work, safe, and clean becomes. Traditional rent continues to skyrocket, but how do we find furnished rooms for rent in Atlanta?
Read on below for tips on how to find a great room for rent that won’t break your budget.
First, it’s important to list your priorities. Some things you’ll want to consider when looking for an affordable rental in Atlanta are:
- How much will your rent and utilities cost you?
- Can you rent a room by the week?
- Roommates—will you need them?
- Location—is the house or apartment near your job?
- What will your average commute look like?
- Quality—is the residence new or old?
- How important is cleanliness to you?
Affordability – Rent and Utilities
When ironing out your monthly budget, you should consider that rent will be your largest expense. The most common rule of thumb in determining how much you can afford to spend on housing is that it should never be more than 30% of your monthly income. You also need to budget for utilities and internet. But how do you determine these amounts? As you assemble a list of questions for a potential landlord, include an estimate of utilities. Also, find out if utilities are included in the rent. This is not often the case. Utility costs can quickly take an affordable room outside of your allocated budget. Some weekly rentals include the cost of utilities like water, electricity, laundry, and Wifi with the price of the weekly room. This predictable and consistent pricing can be very helpful in determining your budget.
Weekly vs. Monthly Rental
As you look for affordable housing, make sure you are realistically factoring in the flexibility you may need for your work or season of life. A traditional, long-term lease may open you up to cheaper monthly rent, but it also may take away the flexibility that you need for your work. As mentioned above, some weekly rentals offer to include the cost of utilities, potentially standardizing your monthly costs.
A long-term lease is usually for 12-months. The lease is provided by the landlord and often includes stipulations that protect the landlord and their financial interests should the tenant break the agreement early. This can include allowing the landlord to keep the security deposit or requiring the tenant to pay rent if they move out earlier than the end of the lease. Leases help protect tenants as well, but long-term leases can make it a challenge if the tenant needs to relocate during the fixed time of the lease.
The costs of a long-term lease can also be prohibitive for someone with a lower budget. Deposits, including the first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and security, add up quickly and can force a potential tenant into spending much more upfront than anticipated.
The average monthly rental in Atlanta costs $1,812. Multiply this number by two and you get $3,624 for the first and the last month’s rent. Add to that the security deposit. When combined, the first month, last month, and security deposit will total $5,436. This doesn’t include the amount you will still need to put down on deposits for utilities and internet, and this could also be more money than a potential renter has in their bank account at all.
Atlanta has the fifth-highest overall monthly utility bill average in the country. Basic utilities (water, electric, sewer, garbage) for a home in Atlanta will, on average, cost around $209.77 per month. This can be a significant portion of your monthly budget!
Rather than look for long-term lease options, consider renting a weekly furnished room for rent in Atlanta for more flexibility and the option of having utilities included in the weekly amount to maintain consistency in your budget.
One traditional way to bring down the cost of rent and utility bills, possibly even groceries, is to find one or more roommates. This could be an easy way to bring down the cost of your rent, but it comes with its own unique set of challenges. First off, where do you find a roommate? Second, how do you find a roommate safely? Here are a few roommate-finding options, along with their benefits and challenges:
Craigslist was most relevant up until about 10 years ago. One very important factor to consider when deciding to live with roommates is safety and credibility. We’ve all heard horror stories of scammy Craigslist roommates. Don’t believe all of the photos you see on the internet. Scammers on sites like Craigslist, Zillow, and Padmapper will often post fake or modified photos to lure renters in. When looking for a room to rent, build a tour into your search. If you can, take a friend on the tour with you.
Be safe in your search, and if you elect to meet a potential roommate in person, do so in a public, well-lit place. Prepare your questions for potential roommates ahead of time. Ask questions about their lifestyle, and see if they have any house rules. While you might not be best friends with these people, occupying the same space does come with its challenges, and having these discussions upfront can prevent awkward situations later. But also consider—do you want to handle running your own background checks? Some affordable furnished room rental services take the guesswork or difficulty of background checks out of the equation by handling it for you.
Facebook has a group for nearly every interest. It’s no wonder that there are groups for finding roommates in Atlanta. There are lots of listings in these groups and the people posting the listings look nice enough. But why do you not get a response when you attempt to contact the person posting? Unfortunately, Facebook has run into trouble recently with the proliferation of “bots” posting listings for things that no longer, or in some cases never did, exist. You may be better off saving your time and energy and limiting your frustration with these “ghost-posts” by working with a credible room rental service for the Atlanta market. These listings are all very real and are all available to you at a reasonable weekly rate.
The aunt of a friend-of-a-friend? Your mom’s high school bestie? Relying on word-of-mouth can be a crapshoot. You could, possibly, end up with an amazing deal complete with home-cooked meals and great company or a breakdown in your living situation that has larger implications. If you’re relying on a word-of-mouth referral for your living situation, just prepare yourself for the possibility of complications.
Campus bulletin boards
If you’re currently in college or freshly graduated, check with your alumni association to see who is in need of a roommate locally. This scenario can be mildly better than living with a stranger. Again, it’s a bit of a gamble, but perhaps you can find good company in a roommate who’s living through a similar stage of life to your own.
PadSplit is completely unlike traditional renting. It’s a membership program that allows you to rent rooms with utilities included for a low, fixed weekly payment. This can make so much sense for someone working to build their savings and better themselves financially.
For a fixed, weekly payment, Members get private, furnished rooms. All of these rooms meet standards of quality and all rooms are hosted by the property owners, not an absentee ownership group. Better still, the weekly payment includes utilities, internet, and laundry facilities.
PadSplit keeps the process simple. They facilitate relationships between renters and rentees and manage all the paperwork from payment processing to background checks. While some traditional leases require minimum credit scores, PadSplit does not. In fact, PadSplit reports consistent membership payments to help members build their credit histories and improve their credit scores. 95% of PadSplit Members see an improvement in their credit score.
Is the room for rent in a safe neighborhood or building? Decide which of these are most important to you as you rank your potential new rentals. Maybe you’re willing to pay a bit more for a more central location. Or maybe finding the cheapest possible rent outweighs everything else. A good weekly furnished room locator will map potential properties for you, allowing you to see price and location, and even take a virtual tour of the unit and the surrounding neighborhood.
Look beyond the trendy neighborhoods to find rooms for rent that work with your budget. Some of Atlanta’s trendy areas seem to have it all, but you’re definitely paying top dollar for the more sought-after location. Rather than look in the buzziest neighborhoods, broaden your search to safe areas that are still close to transportation.
Regardless of how you find your next rental, make sure you proceed safely and within your budget. PadSplit has homes all over Atlanta, offering plenty of choices when it comes to different neighborhoods. PadSplit understands how difficult it can be to find affordable rooms for rent in Atlanta. But don’t get discouraged by soaring rent prices, questionable Craigslist listings, or sketchy posters in Facebook groups. Instead, figure out what matters to you most when finding a room for rent, and start your search there.