A Guide to Renting an Apartment in Missoula, MT

Missoula is one of the largest cities in Montana, as well as a cultural and economic center of the region. It’s also home to the state’s first university, and what once was one of the most prolific lumber industries in the area. And, with a gradually rising population, the city continues to attract more people to its welcoming neighborhoods.

If you’re looking to move to Missoula, we’ve got you covered. This guide will help you research and find the perfect rental apartment in Missoula, as well as give you an idea of what it’s like to live here.

Real Estate Overview

The real estate market in Missoula is constant and stable, with a balanced renter-homeowner distribution. Rental apartments here range from $1,300 to $4,000 per month, depending on the type of apartment you need, as well as the location you’re looking to rent in. For comparison, prices for a home in Missoula start at around $145,000.

Cost of Living

In addition to your housing costs, you’ll also need to budget for other costs, including utilities and groceries. On average, utilities run around $125 per month for a 915-square-foot apartment, although that can vary by season as Montana’s winters can be rather cold, while its summers are mild.

And, while Missoula is among the more expensive cities in Montana, it’s also among the most prosperous in the state. Even so, expect to spend less than the national average on your grocery bills.

How to Search for & Find an Apartment

When looking for an apartment, it’s best to start your search online about one month before you move (or a bit earlier if you want to get an idea of how prices evolve). If you find your apartment too early, most landlords are not likely to wait for you to move. For that reason, searching in the month that you’re planning to move is a good time to start really looking.

When browsing for apartments online, make sure to use a trustworthy website with 100% verified listings to steer clear of rental scams. Specifically, educate yourself on how best to avoid those, as well as what to do in the event that you stumble across a fraudulent ad.

After you’ve found some apartments that may be a good fit, it’s time to talk to the owner and discuss how you can check it out. Even during social distancing, you can still ask for a virtual tour and talk to the owner online. Or, if you’re moving within the state or plan to be in Missoula, schedule a self-guided tour. That way, you can make sure that the rental meets all of your requirements.

Then, if you’re ready to make a deal, prepare a list of questions to discuss with your potential landlord, such as:

  • What is the duration of the lease?
  • Are there penalties for breaking the lease early?
  • Is the security deposit refundable?
  • In what cases might I lose my security deposit?
  • Are there any other fees I need to pay upon move-in?
  • What is considered typical wear and tear?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Are utilities included?
  • Do I need renter’s insurance?
  • How do you handle maintenance issues?

Be sure to add other questions, as well, that might apply to your specific situation. Remember, it’s best to start out on the same page with your landlord to avoid any unpleasant or tense situation later on.

Moving Into Your Missoula Apartment

After you’ve found the best place to call home, it’s time to organize your move. For this, it’s a good idea to hire some local movers to help you out. Meanwhile, take time to prepare for the move to avoid carrying any unnecessary clutter into your new space. Specifically, as you pack, declutter your belongings to ease the moving process.

Once you’re settled, it’s time to explore Missoula and all of the amazing opportunities it has to offer. Take a stroll along the river, enjoy the breathtaking view of the mountains or go for a walk downtown to get a good taste of the city’s vibe. Enjoy!