How much rent can I afford?
Ready to make smart rent choices? Enter your information into the rent calculator and find out what you can afford right now.
Rent Affordability Calculator
This calculator shows rentals that fit your budget. Savings, debt, and other expenses could impact the amount you want to spend on rent each month. Input your net (after tax) income and the calculator will display rentals up to 40% of our estimated gross income.
Your after tax (job + side gig) take home pay
Payments to credit cards, loans, auto, etc.
The amount you set aside
Rent, utilities, food, clothes, etc.
You can afford: ?
Based on your income, a rental at this price should fit comfortably within your budget.
You will have ?/mo left to spend.
How does the rent calculator work?
Our rent affordability calculator takes factors into accounts such as income, location, debt — and lets you know how much you can afford to pay for monthly rent in your city. If you are thinking about moving to another city, test out different locations to see if a new area is more affordable.
The goal is to find an amount of rent you can afford to pay for rent while still managing to put money towards savings, emergencies, and out-of-budget expenses. Find out how much you can afford before you sign a new lease.
Here are the data points we considered while creating the rent calculator:
- Monthly expenses: Utilities, food, transportation, phone, health insurance, etc.
- Monthly savings: Amount contributed to saving, retirement, and emergency funds
- Monthly net income: Your after-tax (job + side gigs) take-home pay
- Monthly debt: Payments to credit cards, loans, auto, etc.
- Rental location: City and state where you plan to live
After you enter your information, use the slider to set what percent of your income you’re willing to spend on rent (see below for some advice on that). The rent calculator will tell you the amount of unbudgeted money you’ll have leftover each month. We recommend that you do not bring that number down to zero. Life happens. And, you want to be able to avoid financial strains if possible.
Do you live in a high-cost-of-living area? See, Estimate how much rent you can comfortably pay, even in HCOL areas.
How much should I spend on rent?
Great question! The simplest answer is between 20 and 40 percent of your income. Many people take 30 percent of their income as a starting point (also known as the 30 rule), but with rising rents, you may find this doesn’t work for you.
According to a report published by ATTOM Data Solutions, in many parts of the country, rent is edging up to 40 percent of gross income. In high-cost-of-living cities like San Francisco, LA, New York, or Miami, it’s creeping up to 50 percent — and often, that’s with roommates!
When managing your personal finance, try to set a realistic rent target for yourself. Move to a different area if you have to. With remote work becoming increasingly supported, you may be able to move to a lower cost of living location. If you can’t pay your rent, it can affect your credit score, and you may find yourself facing an eviction.
Let’s break the whole thing down a bit.
Rent calculator at 20 percent of your income
If you choose to spend at this level, chances are, you’ve got a goal in mind. Maybe you’re working on paying off debts or retiring early. Or perhaps you like to have a little extra spending money for fun or travel.
Keep in mind that this level means you’ll be sacrificing something in your apartment. Maybe it’ll be a bit smaller or in a slightly sketchy part of town. Or, perhaps you’ll need to find a roommate so you can swing it.
Rent calculator at 30 percent of your income
Thirty percent is a pretty comfortable level for most people. It gives you the chance to balance rent and other expenses. Spending at this level means that you want to have some money for discretionary spending or savings, but you still want a decent apartment.
In most areas, this can get you a nice place that can make a home while giving you room in your budget to have spending money, too.
Rent calculator at 40 percent plus of your income
This level represents a budget warning for most people, as it can make the rest of your budget tight or unmanageable — especially in the event of an emergency. Still, in some cities or some circumstances, this may be unavoidable. The extra money might mean more space, a better location, or the chance to live without a roommate.
The extra money you’ll spend on rent each month could mean you’ll need to make sacrifices in other areas, like savings or hobbies. Keep all of this in mind when making budget calculations.
A growing number of experts say that adhering to a strict percentage is no longer possible in the US.
Darren Nx, Founder of Steadily, recommends that renters cover their rent with no more than a single take-home paycheck. “Many people use their pre-tax income to follow that rule. Taxes and even expenses such as health insurance just remove money from their take-home income and can change at any moment. So even a strict 30% can lead to issues.”
Now that you know how much rent you can afford, what’s next?
Once you’ve calculated how much rent you can afford you can adjust your budget. Knowing how much you can feasibly spend, you can narrow your search to find the best new apartment.
Now that you know how much you can afford, check out our other resources to help you find the best apartment, including how to find a cheap apartment, how to find an apartment if you don’t have credit, or the best apartment listing sites.
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