The rental market in Tampa is hot! There are apartments all over the city with a variety of amenities that match a variety of budgets -- you just have to find the one that’s right for you.

Finding an apartment isn’t always easy, but we’re here to help.

Check out these four top tips to discover your perfect pad so you can live comfortably in the Tampa Bay area.

1) Choose Your Top Home Priorities

Everyone has different priorities for their apartment. Figure out what your top must-haves are.

  • Do you want to live in a neighborhood that’s kid-friendly?
  • Do you want to be close to local nightlife and events?
  • Do you want to be near a park or want to feel safe going for a run around the area?

Know what you want in an apartment and an apartment complex before you even start your search. From in-unit washer-dryers to an exercise facility, you can determine the most important amenities for your search.

When you start looking around to see what meets your needs, you can eliminate options that don’t have your top criteria.

2) Figure Out What Neighborhood You Want to Live In

One of the best things about Tampa Bay is its diversity. You have plenty of options for what type of neighborhood you want to live in.

As you start looking for a new place, decide which neighborhoods meet your needs and start your search there.

For example, do you want to:

There are so many neighborhoods to choose from that you can narrow your search by looking in a few choice areas, and then expanding from there.  

For help with picking the perfect neighborhood, check out our Tampa neighborhood guide.

3) Do Your Research Online

Even if you think you found the apartment of your dreams, it could quickly become a living nightmare. Tenants across the world have horror stories about checked-out landlords, appliances that go weeks without repair, obnoxious neighbors, and unstoppable cockroach infestations  -- eew!

A few online searches can help you uncover the true story about the place you’re considering.

See if you can find reviews from past tenants to learn about the apartment you plan to rent. You may find yourself leaning away from renting a place after you read the experiences of others who lived there.

4) Don't Forget to Build Utilities Into Your Budget

Even if you find the apartment of your dreams, you need to make sure you can afford it.

Determine what you can afford by setting aside a certain percentage of your income. While you will likely set aside more than 30% of your income for rent, you don’t want to spend more than 60-70% of your paycheck on housing.

Plus, you need to account for other expenses. Build out a budget for electricity, Internet, and other costs that come with your apartment so you’re not falling behind your budget.

Also, don't forget to budget for renters insurance. These insurance policies are fairly affordable and protect you from more than you think. A renters insurance plan protects you from costly problems like theft, fire damage, personal injuries in your home, and hurricane and flood damage.

Find Your Perfect Tampa Apartment

With a little work and a little luck, you can find a great home to rent in the Tampa area.

Soon you can invite all your friends over for a housewarming party to check out your pad and all of its cool features.  

For even more help with finding the perfect place, check out our Tampa apartment guide and start your search there.