With rent prices up nearly 17% in the past year and the typical U.S. rent now at $1,904 per month — which Zillow says is the highest rent it has ever recorded—it can seem unsurmountable to find an appropriate rental. 

But Zillow has some pointers. 

First, it says, know your budget—and your rights. Understanding what you can afford and what you get for that price will ensure you aren’t overspending when you do sign on the dotted line. Knowing your local laws is equally important. 

Next, use tech to “search smarter.” Knowing a floor plan before you go in person could save you a trip if the layout is not right for your family. Also, there are available tools that allow multiple applications (usually for a small fee) to eliminate applying individually through property management firms, which can charge varied fees for applications.

Finally, find a way to stand out, Zillow says. Renter profile tools that allow you to create a personal profile can help you do that by calling out qualifications that are important to a property manager.

Even though you’re not actually purchasing, your home costs are likely the biggest line item in your budget, so plan accordingly. 

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