For most Americans, rental costs make up the bulk of their household expenses. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to spend no more than 30 percent of your income on housing costs. However, for many Americans, this isn’t a realistic figure. Luckily, there are several ways that you may be able to find the best rental for you for an affordable price.
Finding a rental for less isn’t impossible. If you are searching for your next apartment or rental home, you just need to start by making a plan. To get started, take a look at these 11 easy tips for finding cheap rental properties. Then, by reducing your rental expenses, you should have more income to allocate towards other bills!
1. Determining Your “Wants” vs. “Needs”
When searching for the best rental, you must first determine what your wants and needs are. What amenities or features can you and your family not go without? The more amenities that a property has, the more expensive the rental generally is.
Make a list of the amenities you would like to have and determine which of these amenities are more of a “bonus” than a necessity.
2. Identifying and Avoiding Pricier Neighborhoods
Unless you absolutely need to live in a pricier neighborhood, searching for cheap rentals in notoriously expensive areas is often fruitless. Expensive neighborhoods are generally those that have high demand. They may offer easy access to public transportation or neighborhood amenities. Downtown locations within metropolitan areas are often far more expensive than neighboring communities, for example.
3. Considering a Roommate
If you’re looking for a cheap rental, consider the benefits of getting a roommate. Roommates may significantly reduce your rental expenses. This benefit can either help you save money or take advantage of a rental property that you may not have been able to afford on your own.
4. Working With a Real Estate Agent to Find Affordable Housing for Rent
Don’t dismiss larger housing options for rent. Sometimes, it may be more affordable to rent a house than it is to rent an apartment. Private landlords usually handle home rentals, so you may be able to get a better deal.
Real estate agents not only work with homebuyers but also home renters. You can contact one of your local agencies to learn more about listings that may suit your needs and your budget.
5. Browsing Apartment Finder Websites and Apps
Apartment finders are a great way to explore your rental options and compare property amenities, costs, and locations side by side. These websites can also help you learn more about which neighborhoods are more affordable.
When exploring these websites and apps, make a list of properties that you are interested in, including their cost, size, and the amenities that you like most about them. Doing so will help ensure that you consider all of your options carefully.
6. Considering Studio Apartments for Rent
Studio apartments for rent offer an affordable form of housing. These apartments are traditionally one room that is not separated into various parts. Rather than having a separate bedroom, your bedroom would be a part of your living room area. Some studio apartments have wall dividers that can be used to break up your space or include a loft area that is considered the “bedroom” of the apartment.
If you don’t have many personal belongings and it’s just you renting the apartment, a studio may be a great fit, especially if you need to live in a pricier area.
7. Being Ready to Negotiate While Searching for Cheap Apartments for Rent
To find the best rental for the best price, it can be helpful if you’re ready to negotiate. Most renters aren’t aware that many landlords and rental properties are willing to negotiate when it comes to rent, deposits, application fees, and so on. You may be able to negotiate for a better deal in any of these areas by:
- Signing a longer lease.
- Agreeing to pay a more significant portion of rent up front.
- Aiding the property manager with tasks, such as shoveling or lawn care.
- Offering to give more notice before moving out at the end of a lease.
8. Looking for Cheap Apartments During the “Off Season”
To find cheap rentals, avoid moving during popular seasons. Rental prices are influenced by supply and demand. When demand is high, the cost rises. Popular moving seasons can vary by location. For example, if you live in a city with a large university, popular moving seasons may occur before school semesters begin.
If you live in a state with a lot of snow – few people enjoy moving in to a new place during the winter. Snow and ice can make a move more difficult, so you may be able to get a better deal by being willing to move into a new property during the winter months, since others may avoid moving in at this time.
9. Examining Rental Listings Just Outside of Your Ideal Location
When looking at apartment rentals, you may be able to save money by moving to a city/town that is outside of your ideal location. Downtown areas are often more expensive, so living outside of the city is usually cheaper than living in the city itself. If you’re willing to be flexible about where you live, you’ll be more likely to find a great deal.
10. Sticking to Middle-Floor Unit Apartment Rentals
Generally, ground-floor and top-floor rental listings are more expensive than middle-floor units. More renters are interested in ground-floor units due to accessibility and top-floor units due to the view or balcony amenities. If you’re willing to forgo these benefits, you may be able to get a cheaper unit.
11. Reducing Utility & Other Housing Expenses
In addition to exploring cheap apartment options, take a look at your utility and housing services expenses and see if there are any ways that you can cut back. For example, if you intend to get a cable and internet package, see if there are ways that you can save more money, even if it means giving up a few channels or settling on a slower internet speed. You may also consider streaming services to cut out cable altogether.