I'm On The Apartment Hunt In Florida & A Realtor Said My Expectations Were Too High

I can explain...

Florida Associate Editor
The interior of an apartment. Right: Associate Editor, Jenna Kelley, on the apartment search.

The interior of an apartment. Right: Associate Editor, Jenna Kelley, on the apartment search.

Jenna Kelley | Narcity

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

I live with my parents... currently.

I'm in my twenties and I moved back to my family home during the pandemic after transitioning careers and immediately realizing how extremely unaffordable Florida apartments are.

My parents live in Fort Lauderdale, an area I want to stay in, and the real estate market in the Sunshine State is sky high, especially here. It seems like there's no limit for it to keep rising.

After landing a more stable career and getting back on my feet financially, I figured the time has come. Plus staying with my mom and dad at 26 isn't so appealing to me.

What It’s Really Like To Apartment-Hunt In Fort Lauderdale, Floridayoutube.com

Here are my criteria:


A $1,700 maximum monthly rent.

Okay, don't laugh at me. I strongly believe there is an apartment out there to find, however, a quick search on modern complexes proved it isn't going to be easy.

Looking to move inside a big city in Florida was very different than my past experiences in smaller towns, meaning I needed a real estate agent.

In fact, one told me there was no way I would find a place with that price. She said a studio in the downtown area has shot up to a whopping estimate of $2,500. Realtors I chatted with said the market had increased by over 50%.

In all transparency, I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck. So, this maximum amount will give me some wiggle room with my salary.

According to The Tokenist, the average millennial makes just below my salary range at around $47,000. This means they'll be taking, after taxes, a rough estimate of $1,600 bi-weekly.

This was going to be tough... and, yes, I got a different realtor.

Size and Amenities

Rent Café reported that the average Fort Lauderdale apartment space you can get with $1,700 is 683 square feet. I'm one person with a dog, so with an open floor plan this isn't so terrible, but I'd like to be a bit bigger.

It's hard to be picky with my budget, but my previous apartments in other states I lived in, such as Texas and Georgia, were 750 and 850 square feet, respectively, and both priced below $1,000 monthly.

It seems I am going to have to get used to "downsizing."

As far as amenities, all I ask for is to not go to a laundromat. This is for convenience and also for safety.

I desperately hope to find a place with an in-unit washer and dryer or one on-site. The latter, I'd factor into my budget because, at many independently owned properties you'll need to pay a few dollars with coins or a card, and, although a couple of dollars, it adds up.

I'm fine with a one-bedroom, one bathroom, I just don't want to live in a shoebox. I also want to gear my search to dog-friendly places, as I'll be moving in with my 45-pound hairy family member, Mac!


As fun as it would be to live in the downtown area, it's high in traffic. Currently, I'm about 20 minutes away from Las Olas without traffic.

Las Olas is a part of the city with cute shops, popular restaurants, and exciting nightlife. It's the heart of the city!

I don't mind being in between the small Pompano Beach beach town I live in now and finding a happy medium to this hotspot.

I'd like to be more south. However, this means money, honey!

The market prices right now are just not cheap at all for what you're getting, and according to that real estate agent, I'm a bright-eyed delusional millennial out of luck.

I beg to differ. I found a new professional to help with my search, and she says it's doable.

Some helpful tips she told me before the search:

  • Be patient. Things will come up, in due time, and she said it's good I'm not on a deadline to move out.
  • When searching for apartments, don't look at big-scale complexes, as those prices are so high for the building amenities, like gyms and study rooms and some even have cafés and such.
  • When you see something you like, don't hesitate or take up too much time to think about it. Just as quickly as they're listed is as quickly other renters put an offer down.
  • The quicker you can move in, of course, the more appealing your offer looks.

Stay tuned for my journey in this new Florida Apartments series to find shelter...no, but seriously.

Jenna Kelley
Florida Associate Editor
Jenna Kelley is an Associate Editor for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on trends and celebrities in Florida and is based in Miami-Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
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