CHICAGO, IL - American attitudes toward renting are changing. Recent studies are showing the majority of U.S. consumers believe renting to be a better option to homeownership, which is also supported by a national Apartments.com survey to more than 2,700 of their active website visitors. In response to increased interest in renting along with the fact that October 1st shares top billing with May 1st as the busiest moving day of the year, Apartments.com is providing apartment shoppers with tips and tools to help them make the big decision of where to live as well as how to choose the best roommate.
From choosing the right place—furnished or unfurnished, studio, loft or an apartment community with amenities galore—to finding the right location and deciphering rental agreements, there is so much for renters to consider before even beginning their search.
"Right now is a perfect time to sign a lease," states Chris Brown, vice president of product management, Apartments.com. "We are seeing vacancy rates drop, which means the rental market is improving. Renting is becoming more popular, somewhat due to economic factors, but also because people want to live in more desirable areas with easier access to amenities."
Brown continues noting, "Relocating ranks as the third most stressful life event. It's important for renters to take steps to reduce frustration and avoid common pitfalls. We continually strive to simplify the apartment search experience by providing renters a website that offers the tools they need to make informed decisions about where to live."
Apartments.com notes that some of the most common frustrations for renters include not being able to get a hold of someone at the leasing offices and outdated or inaccurate information listed about the apartments including availability, rent or number of bedrooms.
"Whether renters are looking to move down the street or relocate across the country, we cater to these needs by offering a national database of millions of apartments. To help renters avoid the common pitfalls that can occur during their apartment hunt, we also provide them with multiple ways to contact the leasing office including Live Chat. Another benefit to looking online is that our apartment listings are updated multiple times per day and renters can even check the availability of an apartment directly from their desktop or mobile phone," adds Brown.
Once the perfect place is found, then comes the often difficult task of finding the right person to share it with. These days, due mostly to financial reasons, more and more renters are choosing to double up with a roommate, providing them the opportunity to reduce their living expenses and afford to live in a nicer place and location.
According to an Apartments.com survey, more than 60 percent of renters said they currently live with a roommate but more than half of them are not planning on living with their current roommate when they move. Reasons cited vary but topping the list were not getting along, messiness and irresponsibility. In addition, of those currently not living with a roommate, almost half said they will be looking for one when their current lease expires.
Apartments.com Roommate of the Year Contest grand prize winner Andrew Prestler demonstrated his roommate prowess in his winning rap parody video and, as a result, he and his two roommates will live rent-free for the next year. As the ultimate authority on what it takes to be a good roommate, Prestler shares the following tips for keeping tensions low and happiness high on the homefront.
Clean up after yourself (and occasionally your roommate): If, every so often, you do a few extra dishes or sweep the floor, your roommate will probably let it slide the time you forget to clean before heading out of town for a weekend.
Pay your share of the bills in a timely fashion: You might be scraping the bottom of the bank account this month to pay the rent, but don't hang your roommate out to dry to cover your share. Cut back on extra spending and make bills your first priority.
Don't go Half-sies: Despite what you learned in preschool, sharing the cost of big-ticket items can cause major problems. Going half-sies on a big-screen TV saves money in the short run, but what happens when someone moves out? Unless you and your roommate discuss all scenarios ahead of time, stick with buying your own stuff.
Come up with house rules: By taking a few minutes to establish house rules before you move in, you can save months of conflict over how loud late-night guests can be on a weeknight, who empties the trash, or how many nights can that girl/boyfriend can sleep over in a row before owing rent.
Alone time: Yes, the apartment is partly yours and you have every right to be there. But sometimes it can be a little taxing to be in the same small space with someone for days on end. Take a walk, go get some coffee or just get out of the house to give your roommate a mental breather every now and then, and they'll be likely to return the favor when you need a break.
Dress appropriately: Need we regale you with the cautionary tale of the Naked Roommate? Pajamas are fine, at times. Anything less would be, well, uncivilized.
Your pet isn't the "house mascot": If you were lucky enough to find a roommate who loves Fido or Fluffy, don't press your luck by expecting them to water, feed, play with, walk or otherwise care for YOUR furry companion.
Fridge fiascos: Some roommates don't mind sharing the Prime steaks they just bought, while others will notice if a single ounce of milk has gone missing. Make sure you have a solid food sharing/separation policy in place before the first trip to the grocery store.
The basics of borrowing: Ask, ask, ask. Even though your roommate is "totally cool with it," make sure you ask before you borrow her heels or his DVD. Borrowing without asking sets a bad precedent that could lead to conflict down the road.
Talk it out: Disagreements between roommates are bound to happen, it's human nature. When they do arise, cool off and discuss the situation with your roommate instead of letting the dispute fester for weeks on end.
Apartments.com is a leading national apartment Internet listing subscription service with more than 50,000 unique addresses representing more than three million rental units from managed properties, newspaper classifieds and for-rent-by-owner properties. With personalized searches, highly visual ads featuring "Walkthrough Video," "Apartments.com Anywhere" mobile solutions, 360-degree virtual tours, professional photography and comprehensive community listings, Apartments.com makes it possible for renters to access apartment rental inventory from across town or across the country. Leads from highly qualified ready-to-rent prospects are delivered to Apartments.com customers, increasing closure rates and decreasing the average cost of leasing an apartment. The website's foundation of solid partnerships with more than 1,000 newspaper affiliate and strategic partners across the country include Yahoo! Real Estate, AOL Real Estate, Univision, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Apartments.com is a division of Chicago-based Classified Ventures, LLC. The Apartments.com network of apartment rental websites includes Apartment Home Living, a leading social media apartment website distinguished by a "live for fun" community experience, proprietary lifestyle matching and local living guides to help renters find their perfect place to live.