How Much Does an Apartment Cost, Really? 7 Hidden Apartment Costs

Planning to get an apartment? If you’re already considering your budget, you should know about the hidden costs too.


Moving into your own apartment can be an idyllic prospect for first-time renters. There are many personal benefits of living on your own. There’s a sense of complete independence and control over your life.

By now, you might’ve already checked the apartment cost against your budget. If they align, it seems the only thing left to do is sign the lease and prepare to move in. However, there are a variety of other significant expenses you might have missed.

Before signing that lease be sure you understand all the costs of apartment living. Read on as we look at seven hidden apartment costs you need to know.

1. Moving Costs

This should be part of the answer if you’re looking for “apartment cost near me”. The physical movement of your things to your new place will incur an inevitable expense.

You can ask a friend with a truck to help you move out. Although you’ll still have to pay for gas and food as gratitude. The most probable scenario is you’ll have to hire professional movers.

This can be pricey; expect to pay professional movers per hour. If the apartment you’re moving into is far away then expect the cost to go up. Moving costs may depend on the distance and weight of your belongings.

If you have some precious items, moving insurance might also be worth considering. This ensures their safety and compensation in case of accidents.

2. Beware of Application Fees

Landlords usually charge an application fee before signing a lease. It can range from about $20 to as much as $75 depending on your area. The landlord uses this fee to do a background check before they decide on your application.

In general, this looks at your credit history, eviction history, or criminal history. The landlord can also verify your employment and income using your information. The aim is to assure your landlord that you can pay your monthly rent on time.

If you have a roommate, both of you will have to pay this fee. Whether your application gets approved or not, you also won’t get a refund on this fee.

3. Consider the Renters Insurance

This is another hidden apartment cost and one that’s required in most leases. Renter’s insurance actually covers your own belongings instead of the property. It can cost up to $25 per month.

Besides protecting your stuff, it also provides liability coverage. If someone gets injured in your apartment and sues you, renters insurance can cover you.

Particular factors can also influence the cost of this policy. Living in a high-crime area with higher chances of a break-in can increase the premium. You’re also likely to pay more if you keep an aggressive dog breed.

When you file a claim for reimbursement, you’ll also have to pay a deductible. This is usually around $500. This means if you lose a laptop in a break-in, you’ll get reimbursed $500 less from the estimated value.

4. Deposits for Security or Pets

Many landlords require you to pay a security fee before you’re allowed to move in. The amount can depend on your credit and the laws of the state you’re renting in. They can range from around a few hundred dollars to as much as two months’ rent.

The security deposit serves as collateral in case of damages or eviction. This is usually due when you sign the lease. You can get this back as long as you take care of the property and be punctual with your rent.

There’s also an additional pet deposit if you keep a pet. This is for covering the likelihood of pet stains and scratches.

The cost can vary depending on your landlord. Yet you can expect it to range from $200 to $500. These deposits are important to know if you’re wondering, “how much does an apartment cost?”

5. Costs of Utilities

These can vary depending on the type of property you’ll be renting. In some larger apartments, they may cover some or all utility expenses. It’s prudent to clarify what’s included or not so you can make an accurate budget for monthly expenses.

Utilities include electricity, water, air conditioning, cable, internet, and others. If the apartment doesn’t cover these, that means you’ll be responsible for all those bills.

Some services might also charge a startup fee, like setting up an internet connection. Electric, water, and gas companies can also charge a one-time startup fee. Before starting a service, look around for a utility company with the best deal.

If you are living with roommates, discuss how you’ll split these expenses. Check out this guide for the average costs of apartment utilities in the US.

6. Additional Storage and Parking Space

Once you move in, you might realize there isn’t enough space for all your things. Some apartments offer rentable extra storage space. If your apartment doesn’t have one, you might need to consider renting a unit in a storage facility.

You also need to consider parking space if you have a car. Some apartments provide free parking for renters. Others charge a monthly premium for a parking slot.

7. Cleaning Costs

This can seem like a minor expense. Yet considering their regularity, it’s still important to account for the costs.

Regular cleaning is part of the apartment’s necessary maintenance. It helps prevent damage and wear-and-tear that the landlord can subtract from the security deposit. Your monthly cleaning expense can cost between $15 to $100, depending on your unit’s size.

Many apartments also charge a cleaning fee when you move out. This can cost several hundred dollars. Some also include this fee as a non-refundable deposit, so consider this fee in your budget.

Consider the Full Apartment Cost

Moving into your own apartment can be exciting. Yet, the apartment cost goes beyond the monthly rent and common utilities. Make sure to consider all the hidden costs of an apartment before you sign that lease.

Want to know more tips about apartment living? Read our other guides here!