If you’re looking for ways to save money on rent, you’re not alone. It’s better to rent than buy a home in some areas. Even if you live in an area with more supply than available renters, your rental home or apartment might consume more of your net income than you’d like.
So the question is—what can you do to save money on rent? Some people do drastic things to save money, including live in the woods or at a campground with showers. Most people don’t want to go to extremes and, according to the Wall Street Journal end up living in a home or apartment that eats 40 to 60 percent of their after-tax income. If you’re one of them, you know it’s difficult to eat well, take a vacation, buy a car, or save money in that equation. Let’s discussion some of the ways you can save money on rent now:
1. Dismiss Your Landlord
Circle the date your lease expires on the calendar now. When it expires, or if you’re renting month-to-month, compare rental apartments or homes in your current neighborhood, in a similar neighborhood, or in a better neighborhood. If you’ve lived in the same home or apartment for more than two years, chances are good that your landlord asked for more rent over time.
Interview a new landlord and, with luck and careful planning, you may find a property that meets your needs for less. Let’s say you have to move a few miles. The move will cost $300 or $400, but saving $200 each month over two years will save you almost $5,000.
2. Barter for Rent
If you have some skills or know how to fix things or you’re a quick learner and you’re up to the task, ask your landlord to reduce you rent in trade for work. Let’s say he or she needs to hire a painter for your apartment complex. You know what the professional painter charges and propose to work at a 15 percent discount. Alternatively, trade your skills in a barter arrangement with someone else. For instance, search barter arrangements on Google or on community message boards at the local grocer or Whole Foods. If you can barter skills for something else you need, you’ll have more money to spend on rent.
3. Live in a Home or Apartment for Sale
If you live in a beach front community or you know of certain properties that are for sale (and empty), approach the owner about property-sitting services. In this arrangement, you pay less than market rent to stay in the property until it sells. You must contractually agree to vacate the property by the time the new owner closes. Benefits to pitch to the owner include:
Maintain the property: shovel snow, water plants, perform landscaping tasks Keep the interior of the property “show presentable” It’s possible to apply for a position as a caretaker at Caretakers of America. In this arrangement, you pay “monthly fees” in lieu of rent. When the property sells, Caretakers of America hopes to identify another gig. If you’re single and don’t mind frequent moves, perhaps a second job as a caretaker is right for you.
4. Consider Your Total Expenses
The amount you pay in rent might not be the cause of your financial woes. Answer–What are your expenses? How much do you pay each month to service outstanding debt? Are these costs growing?—and calculate how much you spend in rent, utilities, other housing-related expenses, commute costs, and other job-related expenses: Obviously, paying down outstanding credit cards, car loans, or personal loans is the first step if you’re paying more than 30 percent of your income to service bills.
Ask your banker about a consolidation loan in that case to lower your monthly cash outflow. If your suffer with a long commute, look for a rental with electric included and necessary services, such as a grocery store, close by. Even if the rental is smaller, you’ll save money and may feel more energetic. That’s got to be good for work.
5. Buy-Out Your Lease
Let’s say you signed a 12-month lease. You pay $1000 a month and your landlord could rent it without any effort. He or she might even find a new tenant willing to pay more. Unfortunately, you have six months to go on the lease. In this example:
You find a new apartment and it’s great. You can rent it for $750 a month. You propose a buy-out of your lease to the landlord. Let’s say you offer $1,500 and your landlord agrees. You save $250 a month on the new lease and $3,000 over the next year.
6. Share Space
If you’re single, finding a roommate may make good financial sense: Interview prospective roommates carefully or look for roommates at www.roommates.com. Ask your landlord for permission before proceeding with the idea. Write an agreement with your roommate about financial sharing. You could agree to split the bills 50/50 when they come in. Or, you could draw up a sublet agreement with your roommate. Consider giving your roommate the bigger bedroom or better bathroom if he or she pays a larger percentage of the rent.
7. Become a Manager
If you’re handy and have skills a property manager needs, consider hiring yourself out as a manager. Negotiate a lower rent in exchange for services, such as repairing rental properties. A resident manager at a mobile home park or apartment building may receive free housing or discounted rent. Contact apartment or condo complexes to present your proposal.
8. “Free Rent” and Promotional Offers
Look for high vacancy rates if you’re considering a new home. To fill units, the apartment owner may offer one month of free rent for a six or 12-month lease term. If you sign a longer lease, you may receive the option to guarantee your rent from rising for a certain period. Look for: “Move In” Bonuses, such as $500 One or two months “free rent” when you sign a lease Always negotiate with the owner of a property with too many vacancies. You’re in a buyer’s market.
9. Negotiate Your Rent
It’s also possible that you’re paying more than you should for rent. If you moved to the current home or apartment from another area, you might not have done enough research about competitive rates. Negotiate your rent now: Compare online ads to know what similar homes and apartments are renting for. Present your case to the landlord, especially if he or she has too many vacancies in the building and your current lease is about to end. (You don’t need to be obnoxious about the fact. Your landlord knows when your least expires.) Simply explain that you’re evaluating less expensive options and that you’d like to stay on at a lower monthly rental rate.
10. Move On
If you perform a job that can be done anywhere, look for a cheaper area to live. That $2,000 a month rent in Boston could be less than $800 in Missouri or Oklahoma. In a less expensive area, you’ll have more money to pay down debts and enjoy the good life.