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How to Find an Apartment in Denver, CO 2022

February 25, 2022

Denver, commonly referred to as the Mile-High City, is an excellent city for young professionals, outdoor enthusiasts, and craft beer lovers. In addition, the Colorado capital has countless opportunities for jobs and entertainment, making it an increasingly popular option and one of the best cities for remote workers.

If Denver is calling your name, you might find that figuring out how to find an apartment on your own can be incredibly time-consuming. Thankfully, we’re here to help by providing you with a guide to simplify the process and ensure you find the best rental possible when moving to Denver.

Here’s how you can find the best apartment amenities and neighborhoods in Denver.

How to Find the Best Denver Neighborhood

Denver covers a vast region of Colorado, which can make narrowing down your options rather challenging. After all, the city offers everything from thrilling outdoor activities to mouth-watering dining options.

You’ll find that the best Denver neighborhoods are unique in their attractions, population, and look. The good news is that whatever you’re looking for in terms of rental options, you’re sure to find them in Denver.

Here's a brief Denver neighborhood guide to get started to narrow down your options!

1. Downtown / Lower Downtown (LoDo)

In the heart of the Mile-High City, you’ll find Downtown Denver, often referred to as the Downtown/Lower Downtown or LoDo neighborhood. In this vibrant urban core, the residents are composed of young professionals looking to take advantage of shortened commutes. In Downtown Denver, there’s plenty of work and play available nearby.

Denver’s famous historic district, the city’s oldest neighborhood, is found in the Lower Downtown, or LoDo, region of Downtown Denver. Still, in the LoDo neighborhood, you’ll find that your entertainment options are nearly limitless. You can catch professional sports live music on any given day, amongst other fun activities.

2. Capitol Hill

Another popular Denver neighborhood is Capitol Hill, a region heavily populated by recent college graduates and young professionals. With proximity to the downtown area, Capitol Hill is adjacent to the hustle and bustle. Still, Capitol Hill boasts its top-tier nightlife as well.

While Capitol Hill sounds might like the neighborhood for you, note that parking is a notorious nightmare. Thankfully, the area's walkability makes up for the lack of parking is lacking. Plenty of the best dining and entertainment is a short walk, bike, or public transit commute away when you live in Capitol Hill.

3. Highlands

For a more family-friendly neighborhood located just outside Downtown Denver, you can look for rentals in Highland. There are three distinct districts within Highland, including Lower Highland, Tennyson Street, and Highlands Square. You’ll find Victorian homes, boutique shops, coffee shops, and local eateries galore throughout all communities.

Lower Highland, also referred to as LoHi, has many great bars and restaurants. The art scene is also strong on Tennyson Street. Nestled in the center of Highland is Highlands Square. Here you’ll find some of the best shopping in Denver, with most goods being unique and locally made. Whichever district you seek out in Highland, you’ll find a strong sense of community.

4. Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek, Denver’s posh residential neighborhood, is located West of Downtown Denver. Despite the upscale neighborhood trends, including big box retailers, Cherry Creek still offers a strong sense of community with friendly residents all around you.

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is an annual event in early July, showing just how vital the arts are to this Denver neighborhood. People from across the state travel near and far to celebrate the arts, including culinary, performing, and visual assortments.

5. River North Art District (RiNo)

Another Denver neighborhood that showcases the arts unlike any other is the River North Art District, also known as RiNo. Many recent developments sprung up in RiNo, turning old warehouses into various things, including local restaurants, art galleries, and even music venues.

You’ll enjoy culinary arts in RiNo, with countless experimental restaurants and food trucks popping up left and right. If you’re a foodie, you’ll feel right at home living in Denver. Best of all, local breweries are all over to help you wash down your delicious meals.

How Much are Apartments in Denver

Are you considering the move to Denver? Before you start packing your things to move to Denver, you need to learn about the average rent prices in the area.

Average Rent in Denver

Denver rents have decreased by -1.07% compared to last month and are up by 16.85% compared to the previous year. Here’s more information to help you determine your budget:

  • 0% of apartments in Denver cost less than $1,000 per month.
  • 57% of apartments in Denver cost between $1,000-$1,999 per month.
  • 34% of apartments in Denver cost between $2,000-$2,999 per month.
  • 8% of apartments in Denver cost over $3,000 per month.

How to Find Cheap Apartments in Denver

Figuring out how to find an apartment in the popular city of Denver is one thing, though finding a _cheap _apartment will require some extensive research on your end. Thankfully, with the help of our guide from Apartment List, you are sure to find something you not only love but that you can also afford.

Learn how to budget for your first apartment if you haven’t already done so. While there are plenty of expenses that come along with renting an apartment in Denver, some of the crucial ones to make sure to include in your budget are:

  • Moving expenses
  • Rent
  • Cable/internet
  • Heating and gas
  • Electricity

As you start putting your budgetary expenses together, you might feel overwhelmed, but don’t worry if it seems like a lot. If you are mindful, there are plenty of ways to help reduce some of your costs. For example, some cost-saving tricks might include taking advantage of seasonality when renting or continually seeking out different move-in specials.

What’s the Best Time to Find an Apartment in Denver

When choosing what time to find an apartment in Denver, you’ll want to take notice of the rental market’s seasonality. Denver rates consistently show that seasonality can impact rent prices, common to rental trends across the country.

Trends show that people are generally less interested in moving during the winter months. Between the stress of the holidays and less favorable weather, it just so happens that people aren’t as eager to pack up and move. As a result, more apartments are available during the winter and often at lower rates than the rest of the year.

Contrastingly, the most popular time for moving is in the summer months. As a result, the rental market tends to be both more competitive and more expensive. As much as you can control it, you should aim to avoid the summer months for a big move.

Regardless of when you start looking at Denver apartments, make sure you come prepared with all of your proper documentation. You being ready to sign a lease agreement on the spot may end up being the ticket you need to beat out your competition and get the apartment of your dreams.

How to Find an Apartment?

Here are the steps to finding an apartment in Denver! Here’s the process:

Determine Your Budget

Determining your rental budget is another critical aspect of finding the perfect Denver apartment. One method you can use to calculate your rental budget is the recommended 30% rule, which claims that your rent should not take up more than 30% of your gross income or pre-taxed monthly take-home pay.

Divide your gross annual salary by 40 instead of determining your budget according to the 30% rule based on your yearly income.

An example of the 30% rule would be looking for a one-bedroom apartment in Denver with an average rent price of $1,838. You can use the 30% rule to determine your minimum gross income. Based on this rule, your gross income should be about $5,514 per month or about $66,168 annually.

Understand the Trust Cost of Renting

Note that the 30% rule works best as a baseline rather than giving you an exact picture of what your budget should look like. After all, the 30% rule does not account for the hidden costs of renting when forming a complete budget. Take a closer look at some of the hidden apartment expenses if you’re wondering how much apartment rent you can afford. Some of the everyday hidden apartment expenses include:

Your specific financial circumstance will also help determine the rent you can afford. For example, the 30% rule might not quite fit your budget if you have additional financial needs, including medical expenses, student debt repayment, etc. Instead, you may realize that you’ll have to adjust your budget accordingly.

You can also use the Rent Calculator to determine how much you can afford to pay, including additional expenses. This beneficial tool was put together with renters like you in mind to help you get a better understanding of what type of rental budget you are working with for your move to Denver.

Set Your Apartment Priorities

Denver boasts a variety of housing options, from historic homes to new luxury apartment buildings and condos. Once you’ve established your budget, you can begin narrowing your search by figuring out your priorities regarding specific amenities.

Amenities

When deciding what amenities to look for, brainstorm a list of needs and wants for your Denver apartment. For example, depending on your preferred transportation methods, you may want to look out for things like covered parking, bike storage, or proximity to public transportation.

To help you narrow down your options and find your perfect apartment, you must identify your needs versus wants. After all, you might have to compromise on some items, hopefully, your wants and not needs, to stay within your budget.

Denver Location/Neighborhood

Personal preference will be the determining factor for finding the best neighborhood in Denver for your apartment. Consider walkability and convenience in addition to the overall vibe of the community.

For example, if you’re looking for a more lively neighborhood with nightlife and excitement to make the most of your leisure time, Downtown or LoDo neighborhoods are great. Otherwise, if you require more space for a pet or quieter evenings, try looking for apartments outside the electric downtown Denver area like in Highlands.

Before signing your next lease in your ideal Denver neighborhood, measure your desire for accessibility to extracurriculars, including what types, to determine which area will be the best fit for you.

Consider Your Commute Time

In addition to finding an apartment in your ideal neighborhood, your next apartment in Denver should also factor in your commute time.

Denver's walk score is 61, making it the 16th-most walkable large city within the country. In addition to these decent scores, Denver is known for being bikeable and offers proper public transportation. This information is good because it is possible to find a great Denver apartment within walking or biking distance to work.

Public Transportation in Denver

In Denver, you’ll find plenty of public transportation options, including multiple options amongst each of the following:

  • Bus
  • Light rail
  • Airport rail

Public transportation in Denver is pretty reliable, convenient, and inexpensive. It can even be your primary mode of transportation, with so many different options available. For those living and working in downtown adjacent areas, you may even be able to opt-out of having a vehicle of your own entirely.

You might opt for an apartment in Denver near your work or local bike paths and rely on the city’s extensive public transit if you want to reduce your monthly expenses.

Prepare for Apartment Tours

You’ll want to take part in an apartment tour before signing a lease for your new Denver apartment. When it's time to tour your prospective apartment, don’t forget to bring documentation, including ID, references, and your application fee. You’ll want to know the payment preference ahead of time for the application fee as property managers may accept cash, credit card, or check.

Find out how the application process works before going on your apartment tour. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and how you can prepare yourself.

Never feel rushed during your tour and take your time, enjoy yourself, and ensure all the amenities in the listing are functioning correctly. You should also jot down a list of additional questions you may have and bring them with you. Your questions should include rules like building rules, parking, pets, and painting.

Check out our list of 20 questions to ask when renting an apartment to get a better idea of what you should be asking the property manager during your apartment tour.

Applying for Your Denver Apartment

Once you’ve completed your apartment tour and have found a Denver unit that checks all the boxes, it's time to submit your application.

The application should come quickly for you, considering that you already have the necessary materials gathered from your tour. Even still, your application may require additional materials, including rental references.

Most landlords will want references that are previous landlords, but if you don’t have any previous rental history, that shouldn’t be an issue either. Be sure to clarify ahead of time so you can get your contacts in order since property managers may also accept personal references in some instances.

Reach out to your rental references ahead of time so that they can anticipate the call. You are helping to speed up the application process by giving them a heads-up that will allow them to respond more quickly on your behalf.

Protect Yourself from Rental Scams

According to a rental fraud report by Apartment List, 37.8% of renters in Denver have encountered an apartment listing they have suspected was fraudulent. Unfortunately, 8.9% of Denver renters have lost money from one rental scam. Ensure you are always cautious by following these tips for avoiding rental scams to keep yourself protected.

Using Apartment List to Find Your Denver Apartment

While it may be stressful, it’s essential to enjoy the apartment hunting process. On behalf of us here at Apartment List, congratulations on starting your search for a beautiful new apartment and life in Denver!x

Here’s how it works: We’ll kick things off by having you answer a few simple questions. From your responses, we’ll be able to match you to apartments based on your specified criteria. We’ll mix and match your personalized results to make it easy for you to discover places with the perfect combination of amenities, location, and price.

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EMILY KHO
Emily is a professionally trained writer who covers a wide range of topics but specializes in business and hospitality content. With over a decade of professional writing experience in the hospitality industry, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a BS from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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Cost of Living in Denver, CO 2022
8 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Denver, CO 2022
Average Rent in Denver & Rent Price Trends
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