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:: What is Affordable?

How much rent is too much rent? Well, several factors will lead you to that magic number.

First, and most important is how much you can personally afford. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Census Bureau, the Rural Housing Service (RHS), and most state housing departments consider annual housing costs to be "affordable" if they do not exceed 30% of a family's annual income (including utility payments).

Second, housing costs vary from state to state or from city to city. What is an appropriate rent in San Francisco, California may be enough to rent two or three apartments in Boise, Idaho. Geographic fluctuations in rent are almost always a product of the area's economy and rents are directly tied to the prevailing wages of the area.

And third, the apartment or house itself and its condition, amenities, neighborhood, and proximity to services and employment determine the rent for that property.

The secret to finding the right apartment is to balance these three factors. You need to find a home that will cost you no more than 30% of your salary, has a rental rate that fits the area, and has all the qualities you need such as appropriate amenities, good location, and is a clean, safe environment for you and your family.

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