I'm staying with family in West Orange to be closer to a new job, but may be interested in renting out an apartment at some point in the Essex/Passaic county area- and possibly with a roommate.

I've never rented before. Any experienced renters out there that can offer some good tips? Any advice on where and how to search? Or perhaps you know of a nice complex where the rent isn't sky high?

I want my experience to be as smooth as possible, and want to learn as much as I can before I dive in.

Any info is appreciated. Thanks!

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hi leah...ive basically rented for the last 14 years...ive lived in 3 states and 7 different apartments...ive rented luxury apartments, garden apartments, and even rented a condo (garden apt style)...imho, i prefer renting from a management company (not an individual landlord) and if the complex has 24hr emergency maintenance, that is a HUGE plus...that way when something goes wrong (and it will) you know they will be right on it...when i rented the condo (even though it was technically a 'business'), id have to call the plumber (or other company) and pay them then send the bill to my landlord for reimbursement...i didnt like being responsible for those things (my job wasnt thrilled when i had to wfh to wait for the plumber)...thats why ive decided to rent all these years, not buy! but, that said, you could get a great landlord if you rent from an individual...so most would say not to dismiss that possibility! it will also likely be cheaper that way...

to find an apartment, there are plenty listed on those rental websites, check craigslist, and also wait to get a response here from someone more familiar w/the area in which you are looking...though essex/passaic county is a big area, so you might want to narrow it down to a few towns or a general vicinity...and how much rent is "sky high"? that is definitely relative to the person!

i rented the 1br condo in wayne (but i went through a realtor, which means you pay an additional 1mo rent in a fee to the realtor) which cost $1180/mo with heat, hw, and cooking gas included...that was probably close to the bottom of the range you would pay there (the place wasnt updated since the 1970s)...there are definitely other towns in essex/passaic county that would be cheaper than that...but, if you are good with $1500+, you can probably be more picky on where you live...though, getting a 2br and splitting w/a roommate would definitely save you money!

Thanks for the tips Kasey! I think I would also prefer renting from a management company, seems more trustworthy to me. In fact, my good friends live in a garden apt complex "Bradford Arms" in Cedar Grove, which is run by what seems like a great management company with staff living on the premises, and the apartments themselves are attractive and closer to my work. Unfortunately, the rent for a 1 bedroom there is $1340, which is a bit high for me. Granted, it includes most utilities, but I still don't think I'd want to pay more than $1250/month with most utilities included. Is that doable or just wishful thinking? I'm starting to feel like I won't find a decent, clean place in this area for less than 1350ish...unless I get a 2 bedroom with a roommate, which I'm not totally keen on, but open to it with the right place and person.



Kasey C said:

hi leah...ive basically rented for the last 14 years...ive lived in 3 states and 7 different apartments...ive rented luxury apartments, garden apartments, and even rented a condo (garden apt style)...imho, i prefer renting from a management company (not an individual landlord) and if the complex has 24hr emergency maintenance, that is a HUGE plus...that way when something goes wrong (and it will) you know they will be right on it...when i rented the condo (even though it was technically a 'business'), id have to call the plumber (or other company) and pay them then send the bill to my landlord for reimbursement...i didnt like being responsible for those things (my job wasnt thrilled when i had to wfh to wait for the plumber)...thats why ive decided to rent all these years, not buy! but, that said, you could get a great landlord if you rent from an individual...so most would say not to dismiss that possibility! it will also likely be cheaper that way...

to find an apartment, there are plenty listed on those rental websites, check craigslist, and also wait to get a response here from someone more familiar w/the area in which you are looking...though essex/passaic county is a big area, so you might want to narrow it down to a few towns or a general vicinity...and how much rent is "sky high"? that is definitely relative to the person!

i rented the 1br condo in wayne (but i went through a realtor, which means you pay an additional 1mo rent in a fee to the realtor) which cost $1180/mo with heat, hw, and cooking gas included...that was probably close to the bottom of the range you would pay there (the place wasnt updated since the 1970s)...there are definitely other towns in essex/passaic county that would be cheaper than that...but, if you are good with $1500+, you can probably be more picky on where you live...though, getting a 2br and splitting w/a roommate would definitely save you money!

ok, i think i understand your general area...the essex/passaic border area between wayne and montclair-ish... :) ...assuming you dont have a pet (that definitely limits the places to rent)...here are just a few...

here are a few right in there:

westmill gardens in west orange start at $1135/mo for a studio

linwood village in verona starts at $1300/mo

brooklawn gardens in wayne starts at $1200/mo (this is next to where i lived in wayne, one of my friends lived here and it was decent)

slightly further:

franklin towers in bloomfield starts at $920/mo

a little further:

short hills gardens in millburn starts at $1k/mo

short hills terrace in short hills starts at $1250/mo

also, further, but not super-far:

parsippany gardens in parsippany starts at $925/mo

these are just the ones listed in this apartments for rent book that my mom happens to have laying on the table here...there are definitely apartments under $1250/mo...as long as you dont need it to be a luxury apartment or right in the middle of it all...

you can pick up these rental books at the supermarket by the entrance/exit...and you can find a lot more online, im sure...its easier to look online too because you can limit the rent to be w/in your budget!

Wow, very specific info! Love it! Thanks so much, I'll def look into all this.

youre welcome...good luck!!! :)

Leah, if you're open to renting from a landlord instead of a management company, my landlord has a few 1BR places in Little Falls available for under $1000/month. I'm probably moving soon, but I've been here for like 7.5 years and very happy.

It seems that you are not that keen on renting from an individual but I rent out my 1-bedroom condo in Caldwell just off of Bloomfield Avenue and my tenant is moving out June 15th.  She has been there for 2.5 years so I must not be that bad of a landlord.  :) She is getting married and looking to start a family right away which is why she is leaving now.  There is someone on-site from the property management association for any major issues that happen and more minor things I take care of myself (rather than having my tenant have to deal with it).  Rent is $1250 and includes heat and hot water.  There is off street parking with a dedicated parking spot and I allow cats. Let me know if you're interested and I can send pictures and more info ... I'll probably be posting about it on here in another few weeks anyway. 

the thing about renting from an individual is you dont know how they are going to be...i know laura...and id rent from her!!! :)

Thanks Kasey!  :) I'm renting from a private individual myself now (for the first time) and it's been a great experience and has saved me a ton of money.  I also have not raised the rent on my tenant (I have absorbed the increasing costs for maintenance on the unit) whereas with a management company they almost always raise the rent after the first year.   And for the record, I have NEVER dropped by uninvited or spied on my tenant.  Theoretically a management company could do the same thing since they have keys to your apartment also.  Private landlords have to abide by the same laws as management companies as far as I know. 

I appreciate everyone's input, it's a lot to consider.

Basically, I'm working my very first "real" job where I may or may not end up staying. I'll have a better idea towards the end of this year whether I stay or go. Regardless, I do really like this part of Jersey, so I think I'd wanna be in this general area and would def need to look at my living situation more seriously. I realize there's a lot of options out there, but my list gets narrower when I consider cost of rent/amenities/furniture, as well as the atmosphere - I do get concerned about safety and cleanliness and all that, and would wanna avoid anything dumpy. I'll keep this thread in mind. But any other advice is appreciate - keep it comin'!

By the way, I hear there's a sorta "formula" for figuring out the amount of rent one can afford - a certain percentage of your pay. Anyone know?

@laura...youre welcome....any time! :) @leah...lauras condo is really nice...i used to visit her there before she decided she wanted to live in jersey city! as far as the 'formula'...most landlords want to see that you make at least three times the market rent...for example: $1k rent = $3k income per month (gross, pre-tax/deductions)...in nj, it seems to be standard to pay 1.5mo rent in a security deposit, so keep in mind you might need 2.5 months worth of rent up front to move in! :)

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