Finding a deal on rental housing is harder now than it ever has been. Just browsing your local rental listings is enough to make you want to renounce all of your possessions and learn how to live off the land. It doesn’t help that just about everyone is on the hunt for something cheaper. That’s not to say that you’re entirely out of luck.
With enough creativity, persistence, and patience, you too could save big on your next rental space. It may seem like a lot of work, but saving money on rent is the gift that keeps on giving every single month. So, without further ado, here’s our list of the absolute best ways to keep you from spending too much of your hard-earned money on rent.
Find New Builds
Newly constructed buildings, complexes, and neighborhoods are a renters dream come true. Property managers and developers are usually looking to fill a lot of units in a very short period of time. And who could blame them? They want to start reaping the rewards of their sizable investment as soon as they possibly can.
The urgency can play directly into your hands. Those ready to sign a new lease on a newly developed property may be able to cash in on an aggressive discount, receive a few weeks rent-free, or see their first and last months down payment requirement waived.1
Get a Roommate
More and more renters are turning to shared living arrangements as a way to cut back on costs. Though some may balk at the idea of living with a stranger, it serves as a sure-fire way to dramatically slash your monthly expenses.
If enlisting a roommate is too much of a commitment for you, consider renting out a spare room periodically on a peer-to-peer vacation rental space like AirBnB or subletting your space while away. Just make sure you aren’t doing anything untoward that may void your lease and end up costing you even more money.2
Trade Work for Lower Rent
It pays to be handy, literally. Though some property managers get a kick out of doing their own maintenance, most of them outsource essential handiwork to the detriment of their bottom line. That’s what we call a window of opportunity to those willing to work for it.
If you know your way around a toolbox, tell your landlord. You may be able to shave a few hundred dollars off of your rent in exchange for a few odd jobs.3
Depending on your location, downsizing can considerably cut your monthly rental budget. Sacrificing an in-suite bathroom or extra closet space isn’t the worst thing in the world either. Especially if you intend on using that extra money to help pay for something larger down the line.
Either way, extra cash in hand is always a good thing. Plus, having some may ease your budget-conscious mind more than a walk-in closet ever could.
Negotiate on Renewal
You may think renters are the only ones having a tough time navigating the current real estate market, but landlords don’t exactly have it easy either. Bad tenants can cause a lot of trouble for a property owner who’s simply looking for a stable investment. However, good tenants that keep the place clean and pay on time are worth their weight in gold.
If you consider yourself a good tenant, that’s leverage. Do some research, pick a number that you’re comfortable with, and try to use your positive rental history, and your relationship with your landlord, for a better price.
Sign a Longer Lease
Signing a longer-termed lease follows a similar logic. If your landlord values stability and consistency, consider signing a an extended lease. Though there is no guarantee that your landlord will go for this creative alternative, your willingness to commit to a longer term could give you the leverage that you need to shave a few hundred dollars off of your rent.4
Strategically relocating to a more affordable suburb, city, or state can dramatically change your cost of living. Living in high-demand cities comes with a high monthly price tag. Conversely, moving to a lesser-known locale can see monthly rental costs decrease by 400 percent or more.
Obviously, the decision to relocate can be contingent on securing gainful employment in a new city and some small cities lack big-city opportunities. Still, you never know. Expanding your rental and job search to an up-and-coming city like Georgetown, Texas or Queen Creek, Arizona, could change your financial situation in a major way.
Pass on Parking
Few landlords are willing to cut you a deal out of the goodness of their hearts. You’ll likely need to offer something of value in return. If you don’t drive and your rental home comes with a parking space, you may be in luck.
Parking spots are hotly contested in some areas. If you don’t use yours now and have no plans of needing it in the future, try offering it up as a way to cut down on your monthly expenses.
Hire a Pro
Maybe you’re too busy to dedicate enough time to finding an affordable rental. Perhaps your months-long search has led to nothing but dead ends. Whatever the case, you should never be afraid to seek professional guidance.
There are a lot of professionals, called Apartment Locators, who specialize in searching far and wide for precisely what you need. Apartment Locators know where to find the best deals, how to navigate the application process, and are often the first to know about new listings.5
You don’t have to settle for an unaffordable monthly rental payment. With enough persistence and a little luck, you could secure the living space of your dreams at a price that doesn’t mean taking on a third job.
Researching new rentals is a headache at best, and an absolute nightmare at worst. But trusting that the right rental is out there and using all of your resources to your advantage will help you over the hump. Never stop searching for something better. Moreover, never stop discovering new and innovative ways to save money on rent.