How much rent can you afford in Atlanta? Based on $25K, $50K, $100K

The lack of affordable housing in Atlanta and the entire state of Georgia is a constant topic on the news and in political conversations. It's clear that lots of people in the area are having difficulty coming up with rent, or finding housing at a price they can afford. If you're a metro Atlanta resident with a heart and a brain, you're probably following such stories as to whether Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' One Atlanta Housing Affordability Action Plan will come to pass, or if projects like the Grant Park co-living project will help ease the situation.

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But people who are renting in Atlanta need to pay attention to their own rent story, too. While how much rent people charge and what percentage of your budget you figure you should pay may seem like something that just happens, you'll do best by setting a budget from the outset. "Trying to rent an apartment when you don't know how much you can afford is like trying to run a race with no designated finish line," said ApartmentSearch. "It's exhausting, chaotic, and potentially dangerous! Before you start pursuing apartments you can't afford or wondering why you're not getting approved, sit down and crunch the numbers. There's a way to get a really good idea of what portion of your income should be going to rent."

Explore» RELATED: Here's how to determine how much house you can afford

The best method is to use a reputable "rent calculator," a handy tool that uses figures like your income to determine what rent payments you should be aiming for.

Zillow provides an online rent calculator that automatically links to rentals in the Atlanta metro area that fit your budget. Because Zillow is privy to information about how landlords set rent, it has insight into other factors that impact how much money you can spare for rent. "Savings, debt and other expenses could impact the amount you want to spend on rent each month," Zillow explained. "Input your net (after-tax) income and the calculator will display rentals up to 40% of your estimated gross income. Property managers typically use gross income to qualify applicants, so the tool assumes your net income is taxed at 25%. Actual tax rates vary."

Make sure to figure in debt when you're trying to figure out how much rent you can afford, warned ApartmentSearch. "Keep in mind that the 30% rule is a guideline, not a law, and it doesn't take into account a host of other personal financial factors," the website states. "Do you have student loans? A high car payment? Substantial credit card debt? If you're carrying a decent amount of debt, the 43% rule may be more fitting for your financial situation. With the 43% rule, your monthly housing cost plus all monthly debt payments do not exceed 43% of your monthly income."

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These rent calculations are almost guaranteed to make you a little sad, but you'll also feel very smart. It may be depressing to realize you don't make enough money to rent a place in a community with, say, a swimming pool and an apartment complex tanning bed. But it's a power move to figure out a reasonable rent budget and get a better idea of your options before you waste a lot of emotional energy or miss affordable housing options while you're out touring spots you couldn't possibly afford.

Explore» RELATED: Atlanta mayor unveils ambitious affordable housing plan for the city

To give you a reference point, here's what the RentLingo rent calculator has to say about how much rent a person can pay in metro Atlanta if they make $25,000; $50,000 or $100,000. To create a visual, each potential rent is paired with typical rental properties in each of the four core Atlanta counties. Here's how much rent you can afford in the metro ATL:

How much rent can you afford in Atlanta if you make $25,000?

RentLingo's optimum rent: $510

Suggested minimum (below which you'd have "too much savings"): $340

Suggested maximum (above which you'd have "no money for breakfast"): $820

What $510 in rent looks like:

In Fulton County

$500: A pet-friendly single room in a house in College Park. Utilities included, $500 deposit, laminate wood flooring. Four minutes to Walmart and Kroger.

In DeKalb County

$500: A furnished room for non-smokers with a full-size bed and a bathroom at an undisclosed address in Stone Mountain. Month to month lease, no laundry, no pets. Taking applications.

In Cobb County

$500: Furnished bedroom for rent in Marietta single family home built in 2001. Internet, cable and electricity included. Deposit $200. Must demonstrate employment and have references.

In Gwinnett County:

$525: One bedroom, one shared bath in a home in Lawrenceville. Shared living room, dining room and all utilities and Wifi paid. No pets allowed, parking off-street. Taking applications; deposit $525.

How much rent can you afford in Atlanta if you make $50,000?

RentLingo's optimum rent: $980

Suggested minimum (below which you'd have "too much savings"): $650

Suggested maximum (above which you'd have "no money for breakfast"): $1,570

What $980 in rent looks like:

In Fulton County

$925-$1,125: One-bedroom, one-bath studio apartment in Atlanta's Peachtree Hills Apartments. Most include hardwood floors and updated kitchens, along with a community swimming pool and on-call maintenance service. Up to two pets with an added $100 deposit, $250 annual fee and $25 rent.

In DeKalb County

$945: Three bedrooms, two baths in 1,246 square feet of a single home in Lithonia. Pet fees and pet rent apply, renter's insurance required.

In Cobb County

$967 (starting at): One bedroom, one bath apartment in a commute-by-car area of Kennesaw, Greenhouse Apartments. Features include 9-foot ceilings and walk-in closets within walking distance of Kennesaw State University. Two dogs with a $400 fee, many large breeds restricted.

In Gwinnett County:

$955: One-bedroom place in Lawrenceville, up to two dogs welcome, amenities like a club and pet park.

How much rent you can pay in Atlanta if you make $150,000:

RentLingo's optimum rent: $1,850

Suggested minimum (below which you'd have "too much savings"): $1,230

Suggested maximum (above which you'd have "no money for breakfast"): $2,960

What $1,850 in rent looks like:

In Fulton County

$1,800: Four bedrooms and two and a half baths in 1,858 square feet of a single-family home in Johns Creek. The rental offers a bay window overlooking the back yard and a fireplace in the living room, along with a separate dining room, basement and wooded, private yard. Small dogs and cats allowed.

In DeKalb County

$1,880: Three bedrooms and two and a half baths in 1,474 of a single-family home in Atlanta. Amenities include a fireplace, fenced outdoor living space, and a landscaped neighborhood of similar houses.

In Cobb County

$1,840: Maximum-cost rental at a Smyrna apartment complex includes two bedrooms and two baths minutes from downtown Atlanta and the Braves' SunTrust Park. Vaulted ceilings, a sunroom, patio, deck, and fireplace are all typical features, while the whole green-certified apartment community shares two pools, two tennis courts, and two-car care centers. Two dogs or cats (up to 95 pounds) cost a $400 fee and $15 monthly rent.

In Gwinnett County:

$1,870: Two beds, two baths in the maximum price rental at a luxury community in Lawrenceville that includes a pet park, swimming pool, and modern design.