Nothing matters more than affordability, renters say

Renters say affordability is the single most important aspect of what place the decide to live in, according to a new poll.,Renters say affordability is the single most important aspect of what place the decide to live in, according to a new poll.

Renting rather than owning appeals to many individuals, oftentimes because there aren't as many responsibilities. But if renters had to pick the single most important factor to consider before choosing an apartment, nothing's more critical than the cost of ownership, according to the results of a new poll.

More than one-third of respondents to a recent survey performed by indicated that rental rates served as the most influential factor in their decision making process about where to live, more than any other factor. Close to 1 in 4 said that living in a safe area with a low rate of crime was the most important element to them, while 12 percent said it was their proximity to their area of employment or kids' school.

Amenities, like air conditioning or access to a washer and dryer unit, also have an influence on renters' selections, but not to quite the extent as other factors. Slightly less than 1 in 10 said that what their apartment came with was the top consideration in their hunt for the ideal residence, noted from the survey.

Brad Long, president of the Chicago, Illinois-based apartment listing online firm, indicated renters have a lot of variables to consider before settling on a place to call their own – at least for the time being.

"Renters today place high importance on affordability, safety, and convenience when making decisions about where to live," said Long. "While so much buzz in the rental industry centers around reinvigorated big cities and hot urban areas, our survey reveals that living in a cool neighborhood or city does not seem to play a significant role in why renters choose their apartments or rental homes."

Do renters care if they live in a 'cool' city?

The "coolness factor" of a neighborhood is not something that renters place much importance on, based on the results of the survey. found that roughly 20 percent of respondents said that living in a cool neighborhood or city played a big role in what dwelling they chose to rent out.

Though some characteristics of an apartment may be more important than others, few make their choices on one component alone but rather a conglomeration of factors. When asked to choose from a list of all the factors that play a significant role in apartment choice, most pointed to affordability at 71 percent. Nearly 60 percent said a safe area was key and 50 percent mentioned convenience, such as through amenities and utilities, sometimes included in the cost of rent. Spaciousness also played a role, as 48 percent said that a big apartment was important to them.

Right around 4 in 10 renters have renters insurance, according to a recent poll performed by ORC International on behalf of the Insurance Information Institute. Policyholders who secure coverage can choose from a plan with replacement value or actual value.  The former pays for possessions that are damaged, minus how much its depreciated. The latter pays for the cost of whatever the item price is to have it replaced, independent of how much or if its value has gone down.