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Renting: What You Get for $1,500 a Month

If you could live anywhere in the United States, where would you choose?

If you’re reading Money Under 30 and you are in fact 20-or 30-something, you probably can’t afford a mansion, and that’s okay! Part of starting off right is living in a place that you can truly afford and saving up money.

Let’s take a look at what $1,500 a month (actually $1,400) can get you throughout the country. You may be thinking, “I could never afford that!” or “What? My rent is $2,600!” Keep in mind, this is simply an average we picked to show you how apartment rentals vary widely across the country.

Note that in this analysis of rental properties available, “rent to own” or “lease option” listings are not included. If you see an ad for a rent to own property that seems like an amazing deal compared to other rentals in the area, you probably aren’t getting the whole picture.

A Snapshot from Realtor.com

I’ve chosen to use the public syndicated listings and photographs from Realtor.com for the following rental properties. I used Realtor.com because in my opinion, it is much more accurate when it comes to details and is more frequently updated than some of the other real estate websites out there. As examples, however, keep in mind that these properties may not still be available.

New Orleans, Louisiana

For $1,400 per month, you could live in the boisterous and entertaining town of New Orleans, Louisiana, on St. Charles Avenue in the Garden district.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in New Orleans, LA.

This two bedroom, two bath apartment is approximately 1200 square feet. It comes with basic appliances and although the apartment complex is 50 years old, it is in walking distance to a variety of places to see, shopping stores as well as several elementary and middle schools.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in New Orleans, LA.

Each apartment has a wall unit for air conditioning, plus the complex features a community swimming pool for those hot days when you need to cool down.

Charlotte, North Carolina

In Charlotte, North Carolina, you can rent a 3 bedroom, 4 bath family home for only $1,375 a month.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in Charlotte, NC

With just under 1,700 square feet, you’ll have plenty of room to start a family or create the man cave you’ve always dreamed of. This property also comes with over a quarter of an acre and a two-car garage.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in Charlotte, NC.

Charlotte is a popular place to work for those in the financial industry, as it is home to Bank of America and divisions of Wells Fargo. If you can get through the chilly winter weather, you’ll find it to be an affordable living place, with a University nearby as well as landmarks such as the Billy Graham library and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Boston, Massachusetts

Attention baseball fans, marathon runners and genius college students: Boston, Massachusetts, can become your new home if you can swing $1,500 a month.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in Boston, MA

At 1,100 square feet, 3 bedrooms and one bath, this apartment in the Dorchester neighborhood isn’t huge, but it’s a historic 1912 building in an undeniably popular location.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in Boston, MA

Boston is home to a number of medical and research facilities and Harvard University is nearby, in Cambridge. This apartment is not far from public transportation (You’ll be thankful each winter!) and though it has no air conditioning it does have a porch and community laundry facilities. Not a bad place to start your career.

Denver, Colorado

In the iconic town of Denver, Colorado, you can rent a place right on Market Street with all the amenities and both a mountain and downtown view for only $1,440 a month.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in Denver CO

“The Martini” at TwentyOne apartments includes a kitchen with an island, a living room and a walk in closet. There is also a parking garage and a fitness center, plus the whole apartment structure is only 3 years old.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in Denver, CO

The drawback of downtown Colorado living? As with downtown living in most states, the square footage is not so great. This apartment is a one bedroom, one bath and a whopping 784 square feet. Not bad for a bachelor pad, and it’s close to all the nightclubs, stores and restaurants you need, but not exactly an affordable family dwelling.

Riverside, California

If you love the beautiful California coast but can’t afford some of the higher priced areas, consider Riverside.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in Riverside, CA

You can rent a 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 1247 square foot single family home for only $1250 a month. This house was built in 1984, has central air and a two-car garage. There are two stories and a fireplace in the living room.

What you can rent for $1,500 a month in Riverside, CA

Although it needs a little TLC (think carpet cleaners), sometimes putting a little money into making a rental property how you want it to be (within the confines of the lease, of course) means you’ll be saving money in the long term by not going with the more expensive property.

How do these properties compare to the one you’re renting right now? How much do decent rentals go for in your area?

Published or updated on January 15, 2013

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About Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis is a real estate broker in San Diego, Calif. She enjoys helping both buyers and sellers and was voted one of the top 10 best real estate agents in San Diego in 2013 by Union Tribune readers. In her spare time she talks about real estate on a local radio show and manages her website RealtorSD.com.


We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 30.

  1. Bethany says:

    $1700 (benefiting from rent control) for a 650 sq ft 1 BR with parking in western (i.e., cheaper) San Francisco. Similar units are now renting at market-rate for $2100 with parking or $1900 without.

  2. AJ says:

    $800 for 1200 sq ft 2 bed, 2 bath condo in Winston-Salem, NC with all appliances (washer/dryer/dishwasher). Stayed after college because I got a job and could actually afford to feed and shelter myself. Pretty sure I’m going to have intense sticker shock when I move to a city!

  3. Andrew says:

    We’ve got about 750 sq. ft. in the Quad Cities in the heart of the Midwest. Recently graduated, we are dropping $675 for a nice hardwood floor studio with brand new appliances, cherrywood cabinets, granite countertops, and it includes all utilities. Not the most spectacular but quite nice and including utilities, $675/mo is a bargain!

  4. Tess says:

    Not surprising that NYC, DC and San Francisco aren’t covered. $1400-1500/month isn’t going to get you too far there.

    I have a 600 sq ft efficiency in DC area (just outside of the city in VA ) for $1400 (not incl utilities) and that’s a steal. For a 1br/1ba at around 700-800 sq feet you’re looking at paying $1800+ to start out, and that doesn’t include parking or utilities. Some cities are worth it, though!

  5. Michelle says:

    Yeah, Riverside to the coast would take a good 2 hours. But, interesting. My rent for my 1 br/1 ba in West Los Angeles is $1250. But it is definitely a bargain compared to other places in equally good condition in our neighborhood.

  6. Kate says:

    I don’t even think you could pay that as a roommate in NYC. Maybe in Jersey City, but you’d definitely not be renting anything solo. I was kind of hoping you’d do New York just for laughs.

    • Aaron says:

      Actually my buddy rents an apartment for $1400 in Manhattan, but it’s a studio in a walk-up on 89th Street. And of course that doesn’t include utilities.

  7. Valerie says:

    As a Boston renter, I’ve got to say that the listing above is a bit misleading! Getting from Dorchester to downtown Boston is a 45-60 min. train ride. It’s really quite far out and not a very nice neighborhood. I live in a 3 bed, 1 bath, 800 sq. foot apartment in Boston proper and my rent is $3,200!

    I know the website might have presented this as average, but it’s far from it!

    • Jay says:

      I agree. I pay about $1500 in Somerville, but its a small one bedroom. I don’t know anyone who wants to live in the Dot!

    • mike says:

      Agreed. No one wants to live in Dorchester. Especially for $1500.

      I live in Charlestown (very nice neighborhood) in a one bedroom 600 sq ft apartment for $1400…a bit more realistic

  8. I like this snapshot. $1500 goes way farther than we need for our living space here in Durham, NC, but I imagine it would be similar to Charlotte – a mid-sized single-family home. We are currently paying $895/mo for a 1200 sq. ft. townhouse, which is still more room than we need but the cost is a reasonable percentage of our budget so we’re splurging a bit!

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