According to a new Zillow report, finding and landing a rental is stressing Americans out nationwide. The typical monthly rent in the U.S. has soared to a record high of $2,031, and the latest Zillow survey reveals just how tired and burnt out Americans are as they search for new homes and apartments. Recent data revealed that two in five recent renters —or 40%— said they lost sleep during their home search, with many worrying about cost, communication, and competition.
Two in five recent renters said they lost sleep during their search
Not being able to find an affordable rental is the most common stressor, with 38% of renters noting it as one of the most stressful parts of their search, which coincides with rents jumping 24% in just the past two years. According to census data, the typical renter household brings in $3,800 each month, meaning they'd have to spend more than half — or 53%— of their income to rent the typical apartment or house.
In addition to stress caused by runaway prices, 26% of renters said keeping track of emails or messages from landlords they contacted was a concern. And 22% reported the same of having to compete against other renters.
Renters are making tradeoffs to land a new home in a high-stakes search environment. According to Zillow's survey, 77% said they made compromises to afford their most recent rental, with the most common being settling for a place that didn't have all of the features they wanted, such as new appliances, AC or a balcony. Just under a third of recent renters —or 30%— said they ended up renting a smaller home than they had planned.
"Rising rents are only adding to the pressure renters feel during what is already an emotional and challenging process," said Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton. "Renters are often staring down a deadline to leave their current rental, and with competition so intense, they need to make decisions quickly. This survey shows even if renters are making compromises to land an apartment, many are still suffering emotional and physical strain."
Peak rental season is here, and many renters are just starting their search. Zillow's survey found 76% of renters said they would have done at least one thing differently in their most recent rental search. While the rental market is expensive and competitive, there are steps renters can take to help relieve stress and get a full night's sleep:
- Understand what they can afford and establish a budget.
- Before browsing rentals and setting expectations, renters should start with a rent affordability calculator to figure out their ideal price range. They should set search parameters within that budget, and also use Zillow's new move-in date filter to ensure they're seeing apartments that are available when they need them to avoid paying double rent.
- Renters should also do research on their market to better understand what they can expect to pay and if they should negotiate. Zillow has a Rental Market Trends tool showing typical rents, number of available units and market temperature down to the ZIP code. Renters can also compare rental costs in different cities side by side.
- Stay organized.
- Zillow's Renter Hub, a one-stop shop for renters, is now available on the Zillow app. Instead of users having to dig through their inbox and toggle to and from the Zillow app for updates on their rental search, Renter Hub now keeps messages with prospective landlords and all of the up-to-date details on renters' current home organized in one place, right at their fingertips.
- Zillow's Renter Profile lets renters create a personal profile outlining their renter qualifications, such as employment, income and credit score, as well as their desired move-in date and lease duration. A profile allows them to introduce themselves to potential landlords and to offer a sense of what they're looking for in a rental.
- Know their rights.
- Zillow's Local Legal Protections tool provides information about local laws that protect LBGTQ renters from housing discrimination. It also includes information on local laws that prevent housing discrimination based on the source of income used to pay the rent, such as housing vouchers.
- Search smarter.
- To save time on in-person tours, renters can take advantage of virtual 3D Home tours and interactive floor plans on many Zillow rental listings to quickly narrow their options and avoid wasting time touring rentals that are not a good fit.
- Using Zillow's new multilocation search, renters can browse available rentals in up to five areas at once, a great way for them to see options in another location that better fit their budget or lifestyle.
To read the full release, including charts and methodology, click here.