The search for accommodation in the USA


In America, finding reasonably priced accommodation to rent can be difficult depending on the area in which you are looking. This section gives you information about the American housing market, as well as some tips and tricks to help your search.

In most areas of the United States, accommodation isn’t hard to find, depending on what you’re looking for. In some large cities such as New York, however, housing demand is high and rents can be seriously expensive.

Most Americans live in a house, apartment or condominium (an apartment in a development with some communal areas, such as a pool or gardens). Americans are a highly mobile nation compared with, say, Europeans; it is common for someone to move 500 miles, drop everything and switch from the East to the West coast. This means there is a high turnover of accommodation on both the rental and real estate markets.

Prices (both for purchase and rent) are determined by the size of a home, which is measured in square feet (to convert to square meters multiply the figure by .3048).

The number of rooms advertised will include bedrooms and living and dining rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms should not be included in the number of rooms. Check in advance as some owners can be rather creative with their counting. Single-room accommodation goes by a variety of names, such as ‘studio’, ‘bachelor’ or ‘efficiency’. Most one-bedroom apartments have a separate kitchen or kitchenette and bathroom.

Generally higher floors in an apartment block are more expensive. You pay for cleaner air, increased light, isolation from street noise and sometimes a pleasant view.

There is both unfurnished and fully furnished housing for let in the USA. Unfurnished accommodation is the most common; they usually have a cooker, refrigerator, air-conditioner (in the south) and sometimes a dishwasher. Furnished apartments will generally only have the bare essentials, such as furniture, light fittings, curtains and basic kitchen fixtures and fittings. Some apartments do not have a central water-heating system, so check whether you need to install your own water heater.

Most apartment blocks constructed before the 1950s have a communal laundry room with washing and drying machines. Apartments in more modern developments tend to have their own washing machine and drier.

Further reading

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