San Francisco is an amazing place to live, which, as we all know, makes apartment-hunting in the Bay tricky. You may even consider desperate measures to shift the rent/income ratio in your favor—something transplants quickly realize after moving here. Affordable San Francisco apartments are hard to come by, but they do exist. Whether you want to live in the Sunset or the Mission, check out our rotating selection of digs ranging in price between $1,000 and $2,000 per person, per month, from real estate site Zumper’s inventory. But do it quickly: These will be gone before you can say “security deposit.”
3201 Washington Street
2-bedroom in Pacific Heights, $3,995/month ($1,997 per person)
This sunny 2-bedroom is closing in on our maximum budget, but considering the high-end neighborhood, the retro apartment is a downright steal. Just three blocks from the famed Lyon Street steps and recently renovated, the available unit is within walking distance of the Presidio, running trails, Julius Kahn Park and the lively retail corridors of Laurel Heights. The kitchen’s bright red wall and checkered tile might be a little too reminiscent of Mel’s Diner, and the bedrooms are on the small side, but who cares? For social climbing roommates ready to fork over nearly two grand a month each, a Pac Heights pad is a serious San Francisco status booster.
83 McAllister Street, #305
Studio apartment near Mid-Market, $1,700/month
Don’t let this listing’s location scare you away. While 83 McAllister might technically be in the Civic Center and Tenderloin area, the unit is smack dab in the heart of the ever-changing mid-Market neighborhood. Tech titans like Twitter are mere steps away, not to mention BART, major museums, theaters, City Hall, Union Square and the Westfield Center. The neighborhood can still be a bit dicey, but this is a big city. If you can’t handle ignoring the occasional sidewalk drug deal, move to the ‘burbs. Inside, studio #305 looks like the set of a low-budget 1990s music video. The corner unit features a half-hearted attempt at a modern upgrade, but renters at 83 McAllister are paying for location, not luxury.
26th and Lake Streets
4-bedroom in the Richmond District, $6,500/month ($1,625 per person)
If size matters, we’ve found the perfect apartment for you. This 4-bedroom, 3-bath apartment features a massive open living area, a working fireplace, in-unit laundry and an actual parking space. A remodeled kitchen with stainless steel appliances is the fanciest part of this unit. The rest of the flat looks like your dad installed everything on the weekend with a few instruction manuals and some advice from his favorite Home Depot salesperson. Still, a big, clean apartment on the outskirts of Sea Cliff is a great choice for students or young professionals who’ll need to rely on the contributions of multiple roommates to afford SF.
890 Wisconsin Street
3-bedroom house in Potrero Hill, $5,250/month ($1,750 per person)
Available units in San Francisco tend to be either Edwardian flats or chilly concrete boxes. Finding anything more unique than that is rare, so it’s safe to say that this warm, wooden Potrero Hill home is going to get snapped up fast. We love the cozy, quirky interior, but we’re especially attracted to that funky-looking kitchen that opens onto a wooden deck. Aspiring renters should note that the security deposit is a substantial $7,875 and the backyard of this single-family home is mysteriously described as “shared.” Based upon the listing’s extensive photos (like that close-up of the kitchen sink), we’re guessing there’s an existing renter in a basement in-law unit.
1411 29th Avenue
2-bedroom in the Sunset, $3,700/month ($1,850 per person)
Don’t skip over this affordable option! This Sunset 2-bedroom isn’t glamorous inside or out, but there are some hidden perks to 1411 29th Avenue. At 1200-square feet, this is a big 2-bedroom, not to mention the tons of storage included in the rental, in-unit laundry and a parking space. Just two blocks from Golden Gate Park, this home is close to public transit and in one of the flattest parts of the city, making this unit perfect for a cyclist. With the right touch and a little elbow grease, this sterile-looking space can transition into a stylish Sunset flat.