Whether you rent or own paying for your home each month can be a huge budget shocker.
The cost of renting has exploded in many places, while wages have stagnated. The median cost of rent, according to the US Census, increased 19.5% from 2007-2016. That is about $192 a month, meaning it costs $2,304 more per year to lease today than it did in 2007.
Much of that has to do with demand, which shot up dramatically when the housing market crashed at the end of 2008. In many places, the cost of renting has just become outrageous.
Here are a few tips if you are considering moving, signing a new lease, or are now going to being renting.
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How to Save on Rent
Negotiate when you re-sign a lease.
Landlords want to keep good tenants. It costs them money to move you out and bring someone else in. That means you have a little bit of leverage as the renter. Research similar apartments in your area and come in with a number in mind. If the landlord won’t budge, tell them you’re going to look elsewhere. If you’ve been a good tenant, they’ll want to keep you.
Word of caution: Know who you are dealing with. Independent landlords have more wiggle room than a property management companies. They may have multiple renters in the complex and aren’t willing to make concessions, so be polite and know your market and situation.
Pay up front.
If your budget can allow for it, and you don't want to buy, offer to pay the entire lease or at least a few months up front for a discount. The landlord will cut a deal to have cash in hand upfront. You don’t want to rack up credit cards because you emptied your bank account to save a few hundred dollars on rent in the long term.
Sign an extended lease.
What a landlord wants is stability with income. You can give it to them by signing for a a year-and-a-half or two years instead of six months to a year. The longer the lease, the lower the landlord should be willing to go.
Give up your parking space.
If you live in a city and a parking space is included, ask if you can give it up for a discount in your rent.If you don’t have a car, you won’t need a parking space. The landlord would be able to sell the space to another tenant, who might need extra parking.
Look for apartments in the winter months.
Landlords have a tough time finding renters in winter. Vacancies can go on for months, and with each month landlords are losing money. Prices get expensive in the summer months. Look for apartments in the winter, and offer to sign an extended lease that ends in the summer or when you are comfortable. They may be willing to work with you and offer discounted rent.