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How to Find an Apartment in New Orleans, LA 2021

By: Susan Finch
June 15, 2021

Moving to New Orleans offers fabulous flavor and vibrant culture of music, Creole cuisine, and annual blow-outs like Mardis Gras. You'll hear unique dialects whether you're in the French Quarter along Bourbon Street or exploring the metro area.

Finding an apartment on your own in New Orleans is within reach, though you can also use our guide to find the best accommodations to suit your budget without compromising on amenities.

Here's what to do to find New Orleans ' best neighborhood and apartment amenities.

1. How to Find the Best New Orleans Neighborhood

New Orleans earned its reputation as a party town and a feel-good city with parades, live music, and mouth-watering cuisine. You can find all the flavor and excitement you want in The Big Easy or opt for a quieter New Orleans neighborhood.

French Quarter

Live in the middle of the nightlife in the French Quarter. Creole cottages, historic homes, and new apartment complexes are available for renters looking for access to pubs, dining, and the local party scene.

Bywater

The New Orleans neighborhood of Bywater is situated in the Upper Ninth Ward. Locally owned restaurants and businesses serve the community. The area is beloved and growing in popularity with renters and developers for its high elevation and lower flood risk.

Seventh Ward

The Seventh Ward is central to everything and is home to newer construction homes and apartments. Vibrant Caribbean colors pepper the neighborhood in a dynamic backdrop. The Seventh Ward is also home to St. Augustine High School and its lively Marching 100 band, which is embraced by the city.

Mid-City

Mid-City is a low-key and unpretentious neighborhood, though it still retains that creative and quirky spirit New Orleans is known for. Renters are an easy walk from eclectic restaurants and cocktail bars. Stroll the parks and historic cemeteries on weekends and or shop the local boutiques.

Garden District

The oak-lined Garden District neighborhood features historic mansions and gardens along St. Charles Avenue. It's also a central parade route for Mardis Gras. This New Orleans neighborhood offers opportunities for antique shopping, fine dining, and local bars along Magazine Street.

Audubon

The family-friendly Audubon neighborhood boasts old oak trees and the namesake Audubon Park. Go biking or jogging on weekends or head to the park's zoo to see exotic waterbirds and animals. The neighborhood's upscale eateries and bars edge near Tulane and Loyola Universities. Despite its proximity to major universities, Audubon has a laid-back and quiet reputation.

Uptown

Uptown is the New Orleans hotspot for foodies with hallmark restaurants like Camellia Grill and Jacque-Imo's serving Creole cuisine. Live music fills the streets around Uptown. There are also funky book stores and boutiques along Oak Street.

Central Business District

Live, work, and play from the Central Business District in New Orleans. Upscale eateries with Cajun-Creole cuisine and live music from the Orpheum and Saenger theaters draw locals and visitors. You're also near South Market District, Canal Street, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and a casino.

2. How Much Are Apartments in New Orleans?

If you're ready to soak up the music, food, and vibrant nightlife of New Orleans, you need to know more about the cost of living. Before you start apartment hunting, learn about the local rental market in New Orleans.

Average Rent in New Orleans

New Orleans rents have increased by 0.75% compared to last month and are down by 1.47% compared to the same time since last year. Here's more information on how to determine your budget and what you'll probably pay.

  • 4% of apartments in New Orleans cost less than $1,000 per month.
  • 61% of apartments in New Orleans cost between $1,000-$1,999 per month.
  • 26% of apartments in New Orleans cost between $2,000-$2,999 per month.
  • 8% of apartments in New Orleans cost over $3,000 per month.

3. How to Find Cheap Apartments In New Orleans

New Orleans isn't the cheapest city to live in, but it still offers a more affordable cost of living than areas like Austin. Hurricane Katrina changed the city, and as it was rebuilt, rents rose. You can find apartment deals and bargains if you're determined to scour the city. Move-in specials can help lower your overall expenses, especially if you look during December and January when rentals are usually less competitive.

You also need to consider all of the costs beyond your rent. Follow a budgeting checklist for all of your apartment essentials like moving expenses and utilities.

The farther you get from the French Quarter and the trendiest neighborhoods in New Orleans, the cheaper your rent. You'll need to think about your commute time to work and whether or not living near the best restaurants and live entertainment is important to you. Come prepared with these eight tips for finding a New Orleans apartment you can afford.

4. What's the Best Time to Find an Apartment in New Orleans?

The time of year you move to New Orleans could make a difference in the rental prices. The seasonality rental trends show December or January are usually better times to move to New Orleans. You'll pay the highest fees during the summer season and face the most competition to score affordable apartments.

What drives this seasonality?

More people move during the summer because:

  • Weather doesn't get in the way
  • School is not in session, making it a convenient time for college graduates and families with children to move

Fewer people move during the winter because:

  • Inclement weather can get in the way
  • Moving can be expensive, and winter holidays consume a lot of discretionary spending

Now that you have an idea of what to spend on a New Orleans apartment and which neighborhood to pick, it's time to figure out your budget. Here's where to start.

5. Determine Your Budget

Start apartment hunting in New Orleans with a budget-minded approach. We recommend the 30% rule to find an affordable apartment that won't strain your bank account.

Challenge yourself to only spend 30% of your pre-taxed monthly take-home pay on rent. Your pre-taxed take-home pay is also called your gross income. Want to figure it out annually? Divide your gross annual salary by 40 to come up with the same number.

If you find a fabulous New Orleans apartment for $1,500, your gross income should hit right around $5,000 per month or about $60,000 a year. That rule may fluctuate depending on your situation. You may have student debt or want to split your rent with roommates. You may also decide you want more disposable income for New Orleans nightlife and settle on an apartment in a nearby neighborhood for less.

There are additional costs to factor into your dream New Orleans apartment as well. Here are a few of the costs of renting an apartment that people frequently forget.

  • Security Deposit: Your standard security deposit is typically one month's rent. No law stipulates the amount of one month's rent so it can fluctuate. Take care of your apartment to get your security deposit back at the end of your lease term.
  • Pet Fees: New Orleans is a pet-friendly city with plenty of dog runs. Cats and feathered friends are usually welcome in apartments, too! You should prepare to pay additional costs. Most apartment buildings require some form of a pet deposit.
  • Parking: Does your apartment's monthly rent include a reserved parking spot? If so, it’s likely tacked onto your monthly rent.
  • Amenities: New Orleans's hot and humid summers make it challenging to go jogging or bike riding. If your apartment complex offers a gym, you can always cancel your gym membership.

6. Set Your Apartment Priorities

Is your dream of living in New Orleans about location, quality of life, space, or something else? You may decide an inexpensive apartment in a more suburban area is worth the trade-off. Of course, you can also rent a studio apartment right in the French Quarter to take advantage of all of the nightlife. Remember to factor in costs for commuting if you live farther outside the city.

You'll also need to consider furniture, getting your kitchen set up with pots and pans, and other creature comforts. You can be as frugal as you want, but make sure you're not compromising too much on your quality of life.

7. Consider Your Commute Time

You'll also find meter parking is prohibited during rush hour in certain zones from 7 am to 9 am, and again between 4 pm and 7 pm. Trying to park by broken meters can also land you a ticket. New Orleans’s notorious traffic congestion is among the world's worst. It's also been ranked as the 12th worst commute time in the United States. Your best bet is driving from your dream neighborhood to work to figure out if the commute is realistic.

It's also possible to get around some areas of New Orleans by foot. The city has a walk score of 59, although some neighborhoods are more walkable than others. The bike score is 66 and the transit score is 44. The city requires a car to get around or a budget for rideshares. Living in a neighborhood you can work and live in reduces your expenses and reliance on a vehicle.

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) offers buses, streetcars, and ferries to get around New Orleans. You can save money with a monthly pass.

8. Prepare for Apartment Tours

You've got everything you need to start your New Orleans apartment hunt. It's time to begin your search, tour, and submit your apartment applications. It's best practice to visit the apartment in person before signing a lease. Talk to the property manager to get a sense of what living in this apartment is like You'll have a better sense of what the apartment and building are really like, including who's managing the complex.

Come prepared with a few essential questions to ask before renting an apartment. Look over the list and prepare before your next apartment tour.

The earlier you can apply for an apartment, the better. Bring your cash, credit cards, or checkbook to pay for the application on hand. Have your ID, proof of income, and a few references ready. Landlord references are also preferred. If you don't have a renting history, you can also use personal references. If you're new to renting, get familiar with the apartment application process.

9. Applying for Your New Orleans Apartment

The best and least expensive New Orleans apartments go quickly, even if it's not peak rental season. Come prepared for all of your apartment tours and fill out an application on the spot. You should expect to pay a non-refundable application fee. If possible, call ahead to the broker or landlord to inquire about the necessary documentation for the application. Some landlords or property managers may require specific documents and want everything in hand to accept your application.

10. Protect Yourself from Rental Scams

Rental scams aren't an exclusive problem to New Orleans. You'll hear stories in just about every major city. According to a report by Apartment List, Nationally, 43.1% of renters encountered fraudulent apartment listings. 6.4% of lost money comes as a result of apartment rental scams. Follow these tips for avoiding rental scams.

Ready to move to The Big Easy? Good luck apartment hunting and finding your dream neighborhood in New Orleans!

Using Apartment List to Find Your New Orleans Apartment

Ready to move to New Orleans? Apartment List is here to help you find your dream home.

Here's how it works: First, we get to know you. You'll answer a few simple questions, and we'll find the best matches – just for you. Then, we mix and match your personalized results, making it easy to discover places with the perfect combination of price, location, and amenities.

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AUTHOR
Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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