Available housing is nearly non-existent in Missoula, and affordable housing is also incredibly difficult to find, but not impossible. Whether you’re a new renter like myself, or a seasoned renter who just isn't finding anything available in your price range, house hunting around here can drive you to the brink of madness. Here are a few tips to guide you in your search for rentals in Missoula.

See if you qualify for assistance.

Some people think you have to be unemployed or have no income to qualify for housing assistance, that is not the case in Missoula. It’s worth checking to see if you qualify for Section 8 or other local programs, check out what the Missoula Housing Authority has to offer here

Keep an eye out.

When you’re out for your morning jog or walking the dog take new routes to keep an eye on any action in your current neighborhood. Get nosey if you see people moving out or if you spot new places being built. We recently inquired about a place in my neighborhood that was being cleaned out but wasn’t listed and it turned out to be an affordable find for a relative who was looking.

Check daily.

Things change constantly. We didn’t end up renting this one but I checked the listings before bed and there was one new one posted in the morning and we could have gotten it just because we were the first to see it. Check every few hours, even.

Consider a roommate (or two.)

It may not be the ideal situation but it could help in a pinch. There are usually students in search of or offering rooms for rent.

Can you accommodate a longer commute?

Residents who have been priced out of Missoula or who can’t find open rentals to accommodate their families are moving to areas just outside of town, like Lolo, Frenchtown, Arlee, and Bonner. Again, it may not be ideal but the rent is much more affordable in these areas. In fact, if you’re looking to buy, these nearby towns may be just the answer for you.

Timing is everything.

This seems like common sense for most, but new renters may not realize that the time to look for housing is in late spring when many university students go home for the summer. The worst time to look is in August when all of the students are returning for the fall semester.

Can you work for a discount on rent?

Some local renters will agree to give you a discount on rent in exchange for your help. Doing things that renters would otherwise have to hire a handyman to do might earn you a discount. It’s always worth offering.

Check out the Human Resource Council.

There is a plethora of information on finding affordable housing, getting assistance, and even help with utilities on their website

Overall, just don’t panic! There are resources out there for people of all knowledge levels on this sort of thing. It may seem tough to get ahold of, but just keep at it, and you’ll find a place that fits your needs and your budget in no time. 

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