Trulia experts say the secret to snagging a sweet deal in a hot rental market is starting your search with the right mindset. First, prepare to move fast as soon as you see a deal. These bargains are the “white whales” of the rental scene—elusive, blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em apartments—that seem to disappear almost as soon as you spot one. Second, be open to exploring various neighborhoods. Once you do some looking, you may be surprised to find you love an off-your-radar location, not just for the budget-friendliness of the apartment itself, but for the great community vibe, too.
Budget-friendly two-bedroom apartments in the country’s top cities
1. A light-filled find in Boston
19 Brighton Avenue, Boston, MA 02134
The apartment complex: Two-bedroom, one-bathroom units start at $1,475 per month (well below the $3,600 median monthly rent for this area). Expect polished hardwood floors, plenty of windows and charming architectural details. This first-floor apartment is one of eight in this rental community.
The neighborhood: Boston’s Packard’s Corner has all the essentials: food, fun and a place to get fit. Grab a bite at a crowd-favorite like Roast Beast or hear live music and enjoy a beverage at Paradise Rock Club, then work it all off at the nearby Commonwealth Sports Club. Use Packard’s Corner Station of the MBTA Green Line for access to explore the city. The Boston University campus will be less than one mile from your front door, which explains the high concentration of college students crowding the sidewalks here.
2. A hot spot at a cool price in Miami
5175 NE 2nd CT., Miami, Florida 33137
The apartment complex: Design Place, a pet-friendly apartment community offering two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments starting at $1,500 per month. This sherbet-hued rental complex comes with access to a fitness center and outdoor pool with space to relax.
The neighborhood: Steeped in Haitian culture and noted for its thriving art scene and Caribbean flair, the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami offers a low cost of living when compared to Miami Beach —without sacrificing too much in terms of location.
A quick drive across the Julia Tuttle Causeway from South Beach (about 20 minutes), and less than one mile north of Miami’s Design District, home to luxury boutiques, sophisticated restaurants, and art galleries. The apartment’s affordability can be attributed to Little Miami’s up-and-coming status, and get this: Property values here have been projected to jump by 4.6 percent in 2017, making Little Miami one of the country’s hottest housing markets.
3. A budget-renter’s dream in Atlanta
1000 Spalding Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30350
The apartment complex: At Spalding Apartments, designers took the idea of ‘living large’ literally, using streamlined details—brushed nickel hardware and white flat-panel cabinets—to give an open look. The updates make the 2-bedroom, one bath rentals (each about 1,000 sq. feet) feel much larger! These apartments are also pet-friendly.
The neighborhood: Dunwoody is about 22 minutes drive (15.8 miles) from Atlanta and most people commute by car. Nearby towns, include Sandy Springs and Roswell. The median price for 2-bedroom rental is $2600 and seems to be holding stable.
Your neighbors’ are likely to be families (the median age is 39) and 95 percent have a college education. Of the 10 schools in the area, it’s the elementary school that stands out as excellent. Families will enjoy Dunwoody’s love of community carnivals, including Lemonade Days and Apple Cider Days, both festivals with outdoor games and attractions. An art festival attracts nearly 60,000 visitors annually. In warmer seasons, enjoy outdoor concerts and Food Truck Thursdays. Basically, this town knows how to throw a party—and have a great meal on the go.
4. Perfectly priced in Portland
7510 SW Aloma Way, Portland, OR 97223
The apartment complex: This two-bedroom apartment in The Frank Estate has an updated kitchen and details that pay tribute to the original style and details of the Frank home, designed by Morris H Whitehouse, the architect behind nine nearby homes and the U.S. Courthouse on Portland’s Main Street. Apartments include fireplaces and decks. The community also has a fitness center, pool, co-working spaces and is pet friendly
The neighborhood: The Frank Estate, 35 acres total, sits between the Portland Gold Club and Oleson Road, approximately 18 minutes from downtown Portland. Median rents in Portland have risen to $1800 for a two-bedroom in the last year, so although the area is known for it’s laid back residents, you’re still going to need to act fast. Another fun fact: 60 percent of Oregon residents live in the Portland metropolitan area. You are not alone in your search! People flock to the area for many reasons, among the most well known are its eco-friendly vibe and microbreweries. Despite it’s reputation for rain, it’s a highly walkable city with lush green spaces and plenty of outdoor adventures.
5. A sweet deal in D.C.
3810 W St. SE #201 Washington, D.C. 20020
The apartment complex: This newly renovated two-bedroom, one-bath has plenty of ceiling fans, a kitchen you can enjoy cooking in and gleaming hardwood floors. The stately brick building is surrounded by manicured lawns.
The neighborhood: Fairfax Village is a densely-populated urban neighborhood minutes from Pennsylvania Avenue. Most residents commute by bus and train into Washington, D.C. The neighborhood is made up of a 50-50 mix of renters and homeowners, the majority of whom (69 percent) are single.