Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Housing Market - Is It Difficult To Find Housing/Accommodations?

If you'll be in the United States for a limited time, renting is the best option, although it may be difficult in large cities due to high demand.

The cost of accommodation can be a third of the budget of an average American family. In areas where prices are higher, as the centers of cities, can amount to 50%. The type of housing you are looking for is for foreigners is often particularly expensive: furnished apartments or semi-furnished, rented at the last minute and for short periods of time.

If you're going to live in a big city you will find it very difficult to find an affordable place to live, especially in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Normally you have to choose between a tiny apartment in downtown or more space in the suburbs (with a long journey/drive to your work or school).

The area in which you live will have a big impact on your quality of life in the U.S.. Some of the poorest neighborhoods are very cheap and inexpensive to live in due to high levels of crime and poor public services (such as schools or transportation). The best place to live in are those with little crime and good public schools, they are also in great demand, so they are more expensive and less available.

Many landlords require a one year contract minimum. Take your time and try to visit as many houses or apartments as possible, and be sure to read the fine print before signing a contract. In some American cities there are laws of "rent control" which stipulate the maximum you can charge for an apartment based on their size and status. Sometimes this amount is far below what the owner would ask if he could impose price. However, the furnished apartments are not regulated by these laws, so the owner can rent at the price they want.

If you find an apartment you like but it is expensive, try to negotiate. You also have to take into account extras such as maintenance or snow removal (that the contract can force you to do yourself). In some cases the rent includes gas and hot water, but electricity is usually paid by you/tenants.

The supply and demand can vary at different times of year, especially in cities where a high percentage of students. At the beginning of the semester, usually in March / April and September / October, demand for flats is often very high, and find something takes more time. Try to see many stories to get an idea of how the market, compare your options and prepare to act quickly if you find something you like.


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