Perhaps the most significant factor that contributes into where you live has to do with what you can afford. The smartest way to approach determining this would be to make a budget outlining all of your expenses and income. For assistance with creating a budget, there are many useful free online tools that you can use (some examples can be found at bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/en/saving-budgeting/creating-a-budget and money.cnn.com/pf/money-essentials-budget/index.html).
Once you have created a budget, you should have a general idea of how much you can spend on housing. Make sure you include all “hidden” costs that are not apparent. Living in an apartment or house can cost more than just the “rent”. Make sure to factor in recurring costs such as:
- General repairs/upkeep
- Snow removal
- Renters insurance
While some of these costs may not be applicable to you or are covered by a landlord, they need to be factored in to any housing decisions that you will make.
If moving to a new location, there may also be some upfront costs associated with your move that need to be calculated into your budget. These costs include things like:
- Moving truck
- Security deposits
- Realtor fees
- First and last month rent
Rental rates fluctuate based on market conditions, location, climate, and many other factors. Knowing what you can afford to spend can greatly influence where you end up living.