Life is getting more and more expensive, landlords are raising rental prices, and of course utility costs are also rising steeply in rentals. In such a situation you have to be very smart not to spend all your money on accommodation.
More people in a bigger apartment is a good thing, but watch out for the overheads!
You don’t have to pay a lot more for a relatively spacious place if you make the big compromise of renting a bigger apartment with your friends. Today, you can hardly find a one-room apartment in Budapest for less than 100,000 HUF plus utilities, and in a major rural city for less than 70-80,000 HUF.
However, for twice that price, a 2+2 half-room apartment is easy to find. So if the two of you get together, you will have one big room for each of you, and if you rent out the two smaller rooms for 40-50 thousand each, your costs will be halved and the overheads will be divided into four, not two.
Don’t just look near the school!
Coming to Budapest – or any other university town – from other parts of the country or abroad, students tend to opt for incredible comfort and look for an apartment just a few steps away from the university. However, good rents are rare in the vicinity of higher education institutions, which are typically located in or near the city centre (at most, they can trickle down from upper years students on a “dying out” basis). And even if there is one, it is dirt expensive!
Of course, you don’t have to move an hour away from your school, think about what is at most 20-30 minutes away by public transport from an institution near a metro, tram or bus line, for example. It’s important to measure your time during weekday rush hour!
Pay more, but save a lot on your bills!
Nine out of ten tenants – at least so far – have only considered the monthly rent, plus perhaps the deposit, when looking for an apartment. This attitude is slowly changing as the cost of overheads rises. With rising electricity and gas prices, it has become more important than ever to choose energy-efficient homes that can be heated and cooled at a reasonable cost.
If it’s very new, it’s (much) better – preferably with a heat pump!
A newly-built home with a high energy rating of at least BB can now consume much less energy than a home of a similar size built only 5-6(!) years ago. Newer homes, for example, can avoid gas appliance repairs and maintenance, and heat pumps offer very good rates and even provide cooling in summer. If you find an AA rated or better apartment as a tenant, rent it, and you’re guaranteed to keep your bills low, no matter how expensive gas or electricity gets.
Try a nice room with nice roommates
If you’re not financially fortunate and/or not brave enough to rent a large apartment with a deposit and sublet a room yourself (there are risks in that too), then look for rooms to rent. You can search on the university’s website, on a social networking site, even in a specific group, so you can easily gather information about your prospective roommates in advance.