Looking for the perfect apartment to rent in Kansas City? These rental search tips and current market data will help you find the best place to call home.
*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Zumper. All opinions are my own and are based on 10 years of rental experience in the Kansas City area and advice from my husband, a licensed Real Estate agent. I am not affiliated with any research tools or properties in this post.
I’m a small-town Missouri girl at heart, but I have come to absolutely love living in the Kansas City area. It’s home to amazing BBQ, the Chiefs, beautiful fountains, and diverse communities. KC continues to rank well on the U.S. News’ Best Places to Live list, and my family definitely agrees!
But finding an apartment can be stressful! In my early KC rental days, I spent a bajillion hours scouring for apartments (ineffectively) online and driving my kids around during nap time hunting for our next new home.
I’ve since learned how to streamline this process to find the best rentals, and I know these tips can help you find a great apartment in Kansas City.
Research Tips to Help You Find the Best Apartment
1. Decide what is most important to you for your rental
This step is critical and will save you so. much. time. in your apartment search. What are the most important factors to you (and your roommates, partner, family!) for your new apartment?
Some rental research questions to get you started:
Location (this will help you narrow your map search)
- Do you need a certain proximity to work/public transportation?
- Do you need to be in a specific school district?
- Will you be spending a lot of time at home? Do you want a quiet neighborhood? Do you want to be close to all of the culture and activities KC has to offer?
- Do you need a minimum number of bedrooms?
- Does your apartment need to be pet-friendly? Handicap-accessible? Have certain parking arrangements?
- Do you need specific internet capabilities? Unique lease options like month-to-month instead of annual? Utilities included? Laundry considerations?
Remember to focus on amenities that are essential for your search. We’ve loved having pools at our apartments but that wasn’t a deal-breaker for my family.
For example, one of my apartment search lists looked like this:
My essentials–2 bedrooms. Within 5 miles of UMKC Dental School. Private parking. Feels safe and is close to parks for the kids.
Consider the questions above and pick your own essentials.
Congratulations, you now have your non-negotiable search terms for your apartment research!
2. Set your budget cap
Income verification is an important part of the rental process, and the “make 3 times the rent” rule is still pretty common.
Set a budget range for your search that fits your financial situation. It will help prevent disappointment and wasted time if you have a budget cap so you don’t comb through listings that aren’t in your budget.
Now that you have your budget and your essential search terms, you are ready to officially search!
I like using Zumper.com for finding apartments in Kansas City because 1) it’s free! 2) their inventory is updated in real-time so you can act on new listings quickly–so important in this competitive market! 3) I love their amenities list and map feature.
As I’ve become more familiar with Kansas City, the neighborhood search feature has become super helpful. My family loves Union Hill, parts of Hyde Park, and Waldo areas!
3. Make a list of properties to check out
I’ll walk you through my streamlined process for making a list of 3-5 apartments to look into further.
Let’s say I’m looking for a 2-bedroom apartment that matches my example list from above. My budget cap is $1900. First, I *narrow my map to the 5-mile radius I want to live in and enter my top price of $1900.
*Your map will likely be wider with more options, but if a specific location like your workplace is important, make this area small to start.
According to Zumper, the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in one of my favorite neighborhoods–Union Hill–is $1567, so I’m in the ballpark.
I enter my required amenities and make a list of my top 3-5 apartments. If there aren’t any that fit my qualifications, I broaden the map search.
If there a lot of options that fit my initial search, I’ll add more of my wishlist amenities. If I don’t like a rental online, I’ve never liked a place more in person, so I don’t bother adding it to my list.
Having a short but great-fit-for-you apartment list will save you a lot of gas and time instead of checking out a lot of duds in person.
4. Do your due diligence
My husband and I liked to tour the properties on our list of course, but we also drove around the neighborhood at a few different times of the day. Some Kansas City areas seemed like a different place at night and weren’t the right fit for our family.
If you can talk to a current tenant in a non-weird way, that can be super helpful too!
My best advice for this stage is to go with your gut.
If you get a bad vibe during a tour or application process, walk away!
The opposite is true too.
I was nervous about living in Downtown Kansas City with my family, but when we checked out an apartment there, it just felt right.
After much more searching because I let nerves get the best of me, we ended up going with that initial apartment and had a blast with all that the area had to offer.
5. Have a standout application
So you found a match, and it’s time for the application process.
Be honest and have great character references–many landlords do check, especially if your credit is on the lower side! (This Blue Dress sister Madison has some great tips for improving your credit score. )
A solid rental history with timely payments is also a plus.
Zumper has a screening service where you can submit digital applications and credit reports. I haven’t used this service personally, but it looks like a great option to simplify the rental application process.
Which tip did you find most helpful? Best of luck in your Kansas City apartment rental search! I hope you find the perfect place to call home.