Are you a student at UC Davis? If so, then it can be pretty hard to ball on a budget and pay rent at the same time. Here’s what to do!

Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or relocating to sunny Davis, California, finding an affordable apartment can be a hassle.

Davis, California is booming with reputable universities, jobs, and things-to-do. It’s known as a bike-friendly town with beautiful trails and parks. Enjoy museums, a prosperous arts community, and festivals all year-round.

Fortunately, you can still find an affordable apartment in Davis, California. With the neighboring college, there are many places to rent at an affordable rate.

Are you looking for an apartment in Davis? Check out these great tips on how you can find a great affordable apartment in Davis, California.

How to Start Looking for an Apartment in Davis

Use an apartment-finding platform to find your next home.

College and graduate students have access to the university’s off-campus housing resources. These resources usually include the most affordable rentals in the area.

Some of these resources will include places that are or will be available for rent. You can find reviews from people and students who lived there to get a feel for how renting in a particular apartment will be.

If you’re not a college student, there are still plenty of resources for you. Websites like Zillow, Craigslist, and Padmapper are search engines specifically designed to find available rentals in your area. Facebook and other social media groups to find available space for subletting.

As you use these online resources, make sure to set the alerts feature on. You’ll receive notifications via email or text about price-drops and new postings.

Try calling local rental agencies or private renters to see if they have anything available. Some places may have available units they haven’t yet posted.

Kick-off your search by looking for an apartment in Davis at

Think About Location

A leading reason why apartments in Davis can get so expensive is due to location. People love being close to amenities, work, and places to eat. Apartments downtown and close to the UC Davis campus will have higher monthly rents than those farther away.

College and graduate students can save a few hundred dollars each month just by renting an apartment several blocks from campus. If you go this route, check out the bike and walking routes to campus.

If you’re not looking for an apartment near campus, look for apartments farther from downtown amenities. You can money each month by renting an apartment located in a residential area compared to downtown.

Make sure to ask about the apartment’s amenities, such as parking availability and storage. Living farther away from school or work may require you to take the bus or bring a car or bike.

Don’t sacrifice safety. Yes, apartments in questionable neighborhoods or areas are typically cheaper but less safe. Research crime statistics throughout Davis online or by contacting your local police department.

Private Home vs. an Apartment Complex

Renting an apartment has its benefits. But you will have to go through an application process and work with the property management company. They often have tight rules on who can rent based on credit score, income, and renting history.

If this is your first apartment, you probably won’t have a very robust renting history. You may want to consider renting from a single person at a private home. These landlords tend to be more understanding of people’s situations and willing to work with you.

In some cases, they won’t require a credit check or a certain amount of monthly income.

Renting from a private home still offers you privacy and space depending on the home. Some private homes may rent a single bedroom in the landlord’s home or a separate apartment attached to the home. Others may own a separate house split into 1 or more units.

Make sure to meet the landlord and tour the available unit in-person. It also doesn’t hurt to research the private landlord to ensure they are trustworthy and reputable.

Find a Roommate

It’s great to have an apartment that’s all yours. But it’s expensive.

Consider renting with a roommate to help lower monthly rent and utility costs. You can start searching for a roommate by posting an ad and checking out social media groups.

One way is to find and sign for an apartment first, then look for a roommate. An advantage to this is you can decide on who can live with you—as long as they meet the landlord’s qualifications.

Another option is to find a roommate who already has an apartment or home. This allows you to move into a place you might not be able to afford on your own.

You can also find a roommate and look for a place together. The downside is your potential roommate may want a more expensive or more affordable place than you.

If you decide to find a roommate, meet with them first. Learn about their interests, hobbies, and routine to see if you’re a good fit. The last thing you want is to live with someone you don’t jive with.

Check New Apartments

This may sound a little strange, but new apartments may offer discounts and extras to attract new tenants.

Common discounts include a free month of rent or half of the rent deposit. Others may include free off-street parking, free storage, and rent discounts for referrals.

This is a great option for people who recently graduated from college or those who relocated to the Davis area. You’ll save money upfront and have some time to find a job.

While you may save a little more at first, it’s likely the rent will rise over time. You’ll want to make sure you can pay rent or have a roommate ready before the rent gets too high.

Get Help with a Broker

If you want to find a great affordable apartment in Davis, then consider working with a broker. A broker can show you many affordable and available apartments and rental. They’ll help you find a place in a fraction of the time it would take you to find it on your own.

A broker can negotiate monthly rent with the landlord to find you the best possible price. This can save you hundreds of dollars each year.

Working with a broker does cost a fee, usually around 15%. However, if have good financial standing and income, you might be able to negotiate to lower the fee.

Find a Cosigner

People who are in school or just graduated may not qualify for an apartment on their own. If you don’t have a rental history, job, or a great credit score, consider a cosigner. They’ll increase your chances of qualifying for an apartment.

The cosigner is responsible for rent if the tenant can’t pay it. They usually have a better income or credit score than the tenant. Family members and close friends are the most popular cosigners.

However, cosigning with another person can damage your relationship with them. Make sure you’re able to afford rent so your consigner doesn’t have to pay if for you.

Ask Questions

Before you meet with a landlord, you should have a list of questions about the apartment ready. Asking questions will help you learn if the apartment fits your needs.

Ask what’s included in rent. Utility costs such as water, garbage disposal, electricity, and internet are extra costs that add up fast. If the rent doesn’t include anything else, ask the landlord how much utilities and electricity costs at the apartment.

Ask about the amenities. This includes on-site laundry, heating/air conditioning, and parking. Inquire about the cost of each so you can adjust your budget.

Find out if the landlord or tenant is in charge of cleaning the apartment. Ask about maintenance, appliances, and tenant responsibilities.

If you like the apartment and want to sign for it, ask about leasing fees. Some places will have fees for background checks, subleasing, and apartment cleaning.

What to Look For in an Apartment in Davis

As you tour each apartment, carefully check out the cleanliness and condition of the apartment. This will give you an idea about the type of people who rent here and how much the landlord cares about the property.

Check and test:

  • Kitchen appliances
  • Lights, toilets, and faucets
  • Sater pressure
  • Cleanliness of tile and grout
  • Walls are well-maintained
  • Closets, cupboards, and storage space
  • Windows for cracks or leaks
  • Neighbors
  • Carpets and floors
  • Outlets
  • Building exterior and landscaping

If anything looks questionable or dirty, ask the landlord about it. You’ll want problems such as leaky faucets, dirty carpeting, and malfunctioning applianced fixed before you move in.

Pay attention to the landlord. What’s the impression that you get?

Always trust your instincts and gut feeling. If something feels off, it probably is. You’ll feel better living in a place with a landlord who cares about their tenants and their property.

Find an Apartment Today

With these few tips, you are sure to find the perfect affordable apartment in Davis. As you tour apartments, have money ready for a deposit. Competition is fierce and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to secure the perfect affordable apartment.

Now that you can find the perfect home, are you ready to look for your dream job? Check out our latest Career Advice to get your career rolling.