Whether you are rending your first apartment, renting while saving up for a home or simply prefer the convenience and freedom of renting where you live, you are in good company. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, more than 100.8 million American Households rent their primary residence. If you are among that group, check out these money-saving tips for renters:
Negotiate- Before you sign a lease, see if the landlord is willing to negotiate the monthly rent. Quite often, committing to a longer lease (12 months vs 6 months, for example) can be enough to get rent reduced. If they are absolutely not willing to budge on the monthly rent, ask if there is a chance to receive free utilities, additional storage space or garage parking.
Split the Costs- One tried-and-true method to reduce rental costs is to split them with a roommate (or two). Having roommates can yield huge cost savings, but it wont be worth it if you have completely dissimilar lifestyles or different expectations of the roommate partnership. Interview potential roommates much the same way you would interview job applicants, including asking for references from past roommates and landlords. Also be sure to check the terms of your lease to ensure you don’t exceed the maximum number of residents allowed.
DIY Décor- Since any rental situation is ultimately temporary, you don’t want to spend a fortune decorating your place- and you don’t have to. Check Pinterest for easy and cool decorating ideas you can replicate for next-to-nothing. Keep any eye out on Craigslist and Facebook for freebie hand-me-downs and scout local thrift stores for deals on furniture, wall art and knick-knacks. Sometimes all it takes is some sandpaper, spray paint and a Saturday afternoon to transform cheap finds into one-of-a-kind treasures.
Get Renter’s Insurance- While it is an additional monthly expense, it is a small one, and well worth it. In fact, many landlords now require proof of renters insurance before allowing a renter to even sign a lease. According to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, the average cost is only $12 a month for $30k of property coverage and $100k of liability coverage- That is just $144 per year. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Take Advantage of Amenities- Whatever you can do or get as part of your monthly rent, stop paying for it elsewhere. For example, if your complex has workout facilities and/or a pool, quit paying for a gym membership and use the one in the community instead. If they host movie nights, pizza parties or other community activities, attend those and skip spending the money on a night out.
Refer Friends- Check to see if your complex offers renters credits for bringing in qualified new renters and if they do, start referring friends! You will not only get a nice break on rent, you will start to build a community of people you already know and like.