It’s no surprise that there has been a major shift from owning to renting when it comes to housing. Many people find that it is much more financially feasible to rent rather than incur the costs that come with home ownership. Renting can be a great way to save on your monthly bills and keep you from getting into debt if you find you can’t afford your mortgage. But whether it’s your first apartment or one you’re moving into after downsizing from a house, renting can be a tricky process. We have some tips to help you determine the actual cost of your apartment and how to get the best deal for your money.
There are several factors to consider when trying to get the best deal for your budget. When you begin looking for a new place to live, make sure to sit down and figure out exactly how much you would like to spend on housing. It’s important to have a realistic number and to look for something that does not exceed your price range. Once you have a budget in hand, it’s time to start looking at other factors that can help or hurt your deal.
Determine how much room you will need in your new apartment. If you have a family, you may feel that your money would be best spent on an apartment with several bedrooms and ample living space. Single? Decide whether you would like to live alone or find a roommate or two. Roommates are a great way to cut down on expenses, but before you sign on the dotted line make sure that you are protected in case anything were to happen with your roommate.
The apartment complex and surrounding community can be a big factor when you consider a potential place to live. If you work outside the home, check to see how long your commute will be. If you spend a lot of money on gas, that may offset the price of a cheaper apartment if it is farther away from work. If you would like to try out public transportation (if it is available to you), is your apartment on the bus route? Also, what amenities does the complex offer? If you spend a lot of money on gym or pool memberships, finding an apartment that takes care of these needs can be a great way to save money.
When preparing your budget, be aware that there are many more fees associated with renting than just the rent itself. Water is not always included in the price of rent, so that is an additional expense you will need to budget for. Many apartments also require you to hold renter’s insurance while you are renting. If you have a pet there are almost always non-refundable pet fees required upon moving into a new place. Pet fees can range anywhere from $100-300 or more and some properties require additional “pet rent” every month in addition to the deposit.
I consider these to be essential when thinking about the cost of an apartment. Are there certain “trade-offs” that can warrant a difference in spending? For example, if you decide to work from home, it may be worth it to spend on additional space for an office or second bedroom. What you are saving in gas may offset the cost of paying for more square feet.
Above all, it is important to find a space you can call home that is well within your budget. Calculating all of the factors above can help you find the best deal on renting in your area.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
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