Advice for Renters

 David Deem

We all want to live more comfortably, especially as rent prices continue to increase. Here are a few suggestions for renters:
  • Make a list of needs vs. wants and choose a neighborhood and property based on needs first. Allow yourself a stable financial foundation to work from with the knowledge that creature comforts come in many forms and can be added to your life as your budget allows.
  • Look for levers. If your neighborhood and property allow you easy access to public transportation, then you know you’ll have a key cost-saving measure available if you need it. Similarly, if your property has an on-site gym or your desired apartment has ample storage space, you know you won’t need to budget for those expenses. The balance of amenities that you’re able to establish will allow you choices about how to spend your money, beyond rent.
  • Do your homework. Research what’s on the market before and during your search, and know what typical rent prices and amenities are in your desired neighborhood and price range. Remember to ask each property you visit for the average cost of utilities per unit type and if there are charges for amenities like on-site parking, additional storage, access tools such as fobs, pest control and trash valet. Find out if the property you’re interested in has negotiated deals with the local cable and internet provider, and ask whether neighborhood merchants offer residents any deals or perks as well.
  • Remember that value is a constantly shifting baseline. Rent prices can go up and down based on demand and supply, as well as other variables. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, demonstrate your knowledge, and ask for a better price or an extra amenity here and there (accent walls and appliance upgrades are common requests).
  • Remember, timing matters. There’s a reason that people tend to buy cars and televisions on certain days of the year, and the same rule applies to looking for a new home. Rents can be lower in the fall and winter months and higher in summer months as people relocate for school zoning needs and job-related reasons. Understand the ways in which seasonality can impact your search, and be as flexible as you can about your desired move-in date.
  • Partner up. A roommate can be more than just good company. Consider the benefits of sharing the cost of rent, utilities and perhaps an on-site storage locker and cost club membership.
  • Live on a middle floor. You might want the convenience of a first-floor unit or the views and quiet that come with a top floor, but did you know you can actually save money on rent, as well as your heating and cooling bills, by living on a middle floor? When you have other units surrounding yours, you can benefit from some of the heat or air conditioning that your neighbors are using. This means you might be able to run your heating and cooling units less, saving on your electric or gas bill.

DRE #01266522


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