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House Hunting 101: How Much Rent Can I Afford?

Budget Planning for Your New Hopkins Rental SearchAs a renter, it is imperative to decide exactly how much rent you can afford before you begin your search for a new home. The best way to know exactly how much rent you can afford is to start by taking a closer look at your household budget. By acquiring accurate income and expense numbers, you can finetune the search for a rental home that meets both personal preference and budget simultaneously.

Regardless, different Hopkins property management companies look for different things in a quality tenant, keep your plan as flexible as possible.

Generally speaking, rental experts argue that you should expect to spend 30% of your gross income on rent annually. That is your gross income, or your income before taxes and other deductions, not your take-home pay. So, for example, if you make $40,000 per year from all sources of income, your ideal maximum rent amount is $1,000 per month. Indeed, this is a slightly simplified system in identifying how much rent you can afford. Don’t forget to account for additional expenses.

For instance, if you have numerous debt or established some sort of large monthly payments that you cannot change or reduce, these expenses should be included in your calculations. Outside that, your budget should involve a wide-ranging record of two types of expenses: fixed and variable. Food, transportation, medicine, utilities, and other necessary expenses should be added up in the “fixed expenses” category. Entertainment, vacation travel, and so on would go on the “variable” (a.k.a. optional) list.

Once you determine how much you’re spending each month, you can determine a realistic estimate of how much rent you can afford. In places where rents are very expensive, it may be difficult to stick to the 30% rule. This may necessitate altering some of your other expenses to better afford housing.

Of course, how much you think you can afford to pay is only one half of the equation. When applying for a rental home, different property management companies and landlords may have different ideas about what constitutes a desirable tenant. Even if you can establish that you can afford the advertised rental rate, some property managers or landlords may still hesitate to offer you a lease for other reasons. Qualification criteria may include things such as past credit history, and whether or not you own pets.

Be honest with your potential property manager or landlord and provide all requested information promptly and in full detail. You should also dress professionally and be prompt for any appointments. The little things make a big difference, and a positive first impression can make or break their final decision.

Are you in the market for a new rental home? If so, please check out our available listings and contact us if you find something that piques your interest.


We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.