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How to Find an Apartment in Salt Lake City

October 15, 2021

The move to Salt Lake City is exciting, bringing notably affordable housing paired with breathtaking mountain views. There truly is something for everyone in the Crossroads of the West. To get started in your search, you can determine how to find an apartment in Salt Lake City on your own or use our guide to simplify the process and make sure you find the best rental possible.

Here's how you can find the best neighborhood and apartment amenities in Salt Lake City.

How to Find the Best Salt Lake City Neighborhood

Once a pioneer settlement, Salt Lake City has become a vibrant, booming city filled with countless neighborhoods to choose from to call home. Now one of the most desirable cities in the western United States, Salt Lake City has recently become a hub for tech companies.

The First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in Salt Lake City in 1869, instantly turning the city into a booming mining town. Today, the city has many distinct neighborhoods, all of which provide a unique living style for residents.

If you’re looking to move, you might want to start looking sooner than later. Salt Lake City has been ranked in the top 25 Best Places to Live in the country and is expected to see continued growth. We recommend looking into some of the best neighborhoods in Salt Lake City to get a better idea of where you’d like to call home.

Here's where to get started!

1. East Central

Between the University of Utah and Downtown Salt Lake City, you will find the neighborhood of East Central, known for being one of the best in the city to live in. As you can imagine, based on its prime location, East Central is home to a younger population. Residents of East Central are typically university students or young professionals beginning their careers.

This bustling neighborhood has countless entertainment options, all within walking distance. You may be able to get away with not having a vehicle of your own while living in East Central if you work remotely or nearby.

Take a stroll through East Central, home to both work and play for many, where you’ll find everything from museums to live theater shows and concerts. You’ll never have a dull moment living in the center of it all in East Central.

2. Central City

Another booming Salt Lake City neighborhood filled to the brim with young professionals is Central City. Here, you’ll find more of a vibrant and artistic vibe as you walk through the area. Indie cafes and coffee shops are aplenty here in Central City, most of which offer some of the best eats the city has to offer.

Much like East Central, Central City is close to downtown Salt Lake City. Because of its central location, as the name would suggest, residents here have the opportunity to catch live performances regularly.

Art lovers will thrive in Central City, where you can find beautiful displays of local artists in coffee shops around the corner. Central City also has massive murals painted in both galleries and on the sides of buildings on a grander scheme.

3. Poplar Grove

In the western region of Salt Lake City is Poplar Grove, nestled between Rose Park,Fair Park, and Glendale. Poplar Grove is the second-largest neighborhood in Salt Lake City and is often mistaken for Glendale, the largest.

The name ‘Poplar Grove’ comes from the trees that were planted in the area in the 1800s by the Edwin Rushton family. Today, Poplar Grove has its own community council.

While most errands in Poplar Grove require a personal vehicle, the neighborhood is still ranked with a walk score of 46. The area is also home to Poplar Grove Park, which has multiple sports courts, including basketball, tennis, baseball, volleyball, and horseshoes, amongst other activities.

4. The Avenues

The Avenues is one of the most sought-after Salt Lake City neighborhoods. You’ll find The Avenues in the northeastern corner of the valley, offering its residents everything from extracurricular activities to stunning views of the mountain range.

There is a blend of family-owned restaurants and charming historic homes in The Avenues, making it a quieter neighborhood.

The outdoors-y folk love the location of The Avenues, as it’s located right at the foothill of the mountains. You can find countless parks, walking areas, and hiking trails nearby. Anyone looking to live or maintain an active lifestyle will be glad to call a place like The Avenues home.

5. Capitol Hill

Utah’s state capitol building is located in Capitol Hill, yet another popular Salt Lake City neighborhood. You’ll likely find residents who are young professionals in Capitol Hill. Here, you can enjoy tons of indoor and outdoor mingling and entertainment options.

Capitol Hill offers tons of charm, as most of the homes and apartments in the area are older. Thankfully, they’ve mostly been recently renovated, so you don’t have to worry about compromising some of the more modern-day luxuries of living.

On top of all of the fun things this neighborhood offers its residents, they also get to enjoy some of the best views of the city that overlook the entire valley.

How Much are Apartments in Salt Lake City

Considering moving to Salt Lake City? Before you get started packing your things, you'll want to first learn about the average rent prices in the area.

Average Rent in Salt Lake City

Compared to last month, Salt Lake City rents have increased by 2.49% and are up by 17.62% compared to the previous year. Here's more information to help you determine your budget:

  • 2% of apartments in Salt Lake City cost less than $1,000 per month.
  • 65% of apartments in Salt Lake City cost between $1,000-$1,999 per month.
  • 28% of apartments in Salt Lake City cost between $2,000-$2,999 per month.
  • 6% of apartments in Salt Lake City cost over $3,000 per month.

How to Find Cheap Apartments in Salt Lake City

You might have already started the process by figuring out how to find an apartment in Salt Lake City, but you might be having a difficult time finding a cheap apartment. We're here to provide you with all of the resources you’ll need to find the Salt Lake City apartment that checks all the boxes.

Figuring out how to budget for your first apartment is a crucial step in helping you find something within your means. Each rental budget will be unique to the current financial situation, but some of the generalized basics you should always make sure to cover include costs associated with things like:

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

You’ll want to begin by totaling up all of your expenses. It may seem like a lot, and you may be worried about being able to cover all of your payments each month. Don’t worry - there are ways to help reduce some of your costs. You might seek out different move-in specials or consider taking advantage of the seasonality in renting.

What's the Best Time to Find an Apartment in Salt Lake City?

In the rental market, it’s common to find seasonality trends across the country. In Salt Lake City, in particular, you’ll find that seasonality can impact rent prices significantly. If you can time your move right, then understanding the rental trends in seasonality will only help you find a more affordable apartment.

According to typical seasonality trends in the rental market, more apartments are available during the winter months. During this season, less people move, increasing unit availability. Following these same trends, people begin to start moving again in the summertime. As you can expect, this makes the rental market more competitive than in the winter.

Through the trends, you can safely assume that Salt Lake City apartments will become more expensive during the summer versus the winter. So, if you’re able, we recommend trying to plan your move to Salt Lake City in the wintertime.

How to Find an Apartment?

Learn the steps to finding an apartment in Salt Lake City! Here's the process:

Determine Your Budget

Before you hop online and start browsing through the available Salt Lake City apartments, you’ll want to consider your budget. There are several different budgeting techniques to look into, but we always recommend starting with the 30% rule.

According to the 30% rule, no more than 30% of your gross income, or pre-taxed monthly take-home pay, should go towards your monthly rent. Taking this rule into consideration, if you want to determine what rent you can afford based on your monthly income, just divide your monthly income by three. You can divide your gross annual salary by 40 to follow the same rule based on your yearly income.

When moving to Salt Lake City, you can also use the 30% rule in reverse to determine your minimum gross income. For example, if you’re looking for a one-bedroom apartment in Salt Lake City with an average rent price of $1,736, you can use the 30% rule to determine your minimum gross income by multiplying this figure by three. Based on this rule, your gross income should be around $5,208 per month or $62,496 annually.

Understand the True Cost of Renting

Of course, the actual cost of renting goes far beyond the 30% rule. While it can help you get started with your budget, it ultimately works best as a baseline for your budget. You will also have to account for hidden rental costs that may arise through the process in addition to standard living costs.

So, now that you have a better idea of your budget, you might wonder how much apartment rent you can afford? To figure this out, you can take a closer look at some of the hidden apartment expenses that are often overlooked, including:

Another determining factor in your budget is your specific financial situation. Consider how your situation may change with your move, as well. For example, if you have any high bills that you are responsible for aside from your rent, such as student loans, medical expenses, etc., you’ll probably find that the 30% rule doesn't quite fit your budget.

If the 30% rule isn’t detailed enough for you, we’ve created a Rent Calculator to help you determine the monthly rent you can genuinely afford, hidden costs and all. We have strategically developed this helpful tool for renters to help them better understand what type of rental budget they are working with as they begin their apartment hunt.

Set Your Apartment Priorities

The Salt Lake City housing market ranges from traditional adobe-style houses to modern, downtown high rises. After establishing your budget and searching for the best apartment in Salt Lake City, the next step is narrowing your search. A helpful hint to narrow your options is to figure out your priorities regarding specific amenities.

Amenities

In terms of amenities for your new Salt Lake City apartment, you’ll need to list needs versus wants. Include all the amenities you know you can’t live without. Maybe you need dedicated outdoor space, or you prefer to have close proximity to public transportation.

Once you have a list of amenities that you’d ideally like to have in your new apartment, it’s time to prioritize your list. Here you will need to establish your needs versus wants. The more time you spend on this process upfront, the less time you will have to narrow down your options later on.

Salt Lake City Location/Neighborhood

When it comes to finding the best neighborhood in Salt Lake City, it comes down to personal preference. With so many great options to choose from, you’ll want to consider things like the overall vibe of the community, walkability, and convenience.

If you’re a family with a pet, for example, you might want more space or outdoor options. Alternatively, others might not require as much space and prefer to be closer to work or more centralized. These renters might want to opt for an adjacent downtown neighborhood as the ideal neighborhood to call home.

Figuring out the environment that is best for you means prioritizing your desire for accessibility to extracurriculars. What types of options you’re interested in will play a significant role in this decision before signing your next lease in your ideal Salt Lake City neighborhood.

Consider Your Commute Time

Your dream location is only one thing to factor in when looking for your new Salt Lake City Apartment, as you must also include things like your commute time to and from work.

Salt Lake City has a walk score of 59 and a transit score of 44. Biking is another mode of transportation worth considering in Salt Lake City, as the city has earned a bike score of 73. These specific rankings are good to know if you may be considering living in Salt Lake City without a vehicle of your own, yet another way to cut down on some of your costs.

Public Transportation in Salt Lake City

The Utah Transit Authority oversees the public transportation system in Salt Lake City, which is robust and utilizes various modes of transportation, including:

  • Light-rails (TRAX)
  • Buses
  • Commuter trains (FrontRunner)

Fares are readily available online, with different options to choose from, such as buying a pass, a single ticket, or a prepaid card.

Prepare for Apartment Tours

Make sure you take part in an apartment tour before signing a lease to your new Salt Lake City apartment. Apartment tours not only provide an opportunity to see what you are truly getting, it’s also a time to be ready to apply on the spot.

Make sure you keep essential renter materials readily available so that you are always prepared for your apartment tours. Gather items such as your:

  • ID
  • References
  • Application fee

It’s safe to assume that most application processes will require a fee of some sort. Make sure you know the details of the forms your landlord or property manager will allow, whether cash, credit card, or check. Preparing information ahead of time will allow you to apply if everything goes well on the tour.

During your apartment tour, take time to check that all of the amenities are functioning correctly. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you find something isn’t working correctly or something was on the listing, and you do not see it in person.

Jot down a list of questions ahead of time, such as building rules and other rules about painting or pets. While it might seem silly to write down the questions, it will be helpful as you might not realize how easily you can forget things during the excitement of an apartment tour.

Maybe you don’t know what questions to ask. Not a problem; we’ve got you covered. Take a look at 20 questions to ask when renting an apartment and see if any apply to your situation. Asking lots of well-thought-out questions makes sure you make the most of your apartment tour.

Beyond that, you want to make sure you understand how the application process works and gather any necessary materials you may need ahead of time, rather than after your tour.

Applying for Your Salt Lake City Apartment

It might take a few apartment tours to find precisely what you’re looking for, or you might get lucky on your first try. Either way, eventually, you will find and apply for your new Salt Lake City apartment!

When you are well equipped for your tour ahead of time, you provide the quickest and easiest way to begin the application process. No matter how prepared you come, though, you may find that you have additional materials to gather before applying in full.

Your landlord might request rental references to complete your application process, which are typically previous landlords. When you know who you will use ahead of time as a reference, be sure to reach out to them so they can anticipate the call and be prepared. Stay one step ahead of your competition and help boost your chances of getting into your apartment quicker by talking to your references before your new landlord does.

Not all renters have previous rental history, and most property managers understand that. Property managers and landlords will usually accept personal references as an alternative to rental references. To be sure, always ask about any required references during the apartment tour.

Protect Yourself from Rental Scams

According to a rental fraud report by Apartment List, 43.1% of renters have encountered an apartment listing they suspected was fraudulent. Sadly, 6.4% of US renters have lost money from one of these rental scams. Remember to exercise caution and follow these tips for avoiding rental scams.

Using Apartment List to Find Your Salt Lake City Apartment

Don’t be too stressed if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with your apartment hunting. Remember, the process should be enjoyable! Keeping things in a positive light, we want to congratulate you on starting your search for a beautiful new apartment and life in Salt Lake City!

Here's how it works: We’ll kick things off by having you first answer a few simple questions that will just take you a minute or two. Your answers will help us find the best matches that are explicitly tailored to what you're looking for. Next, we'll mix and match your personalized results to help make it easy to discover places with the perfect combination of price, location, and amenities for you.

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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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