Overall, you should be spending no more than one-third of your income on housing. However, the reality is, that rental costs are rising continually, forcing renters to spend a much larger portion of their income on housing. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your rent check:
MAKE SURE TO NEGOTIATE THE LEASE:
The rental listing is not necessarily set in stone. Talk to the landlord before signing the lease to see if there is any way he or she can lower the rent. Also, it might be possible to get perks included (such as free parking) if you commit to a longer lease. For single-family homes, you can also try to negotiate a discount by offering to take care of property maintenance, such as yard work or snow removal.
USE REFERRAL POLICIES:
Find out if your apartment complex gives resident discounts for helping to fill vacancies. Help your landlord market these vacancies by referring people in your personal network who may be looking for a place to live. In saving your landlord marketing money, you can help yourself save a pretty significant amount of rent for the month.
FIND A ROOMMATE:
If you don’t mind sharing an apartment, split the rent with a roommate. This can help you increase your budget to find a larger apartment, but still keep costs down. Instead of paying solely for a small $1,000 studio to yourself, you can split the costs of a 2-bedroom for $1,700 and get more square footage out of it.
SHARE THE WI-FI:
Talk to your neighbors to see if anyone would be willing to share a Wi-Fi connection. By dividing up the payments, it will give everyone the same internet access but at a fraction of the cost. This cost would be lowered even more if you had a roommate as well!
Investing in a few low-cost eco-friendly changes in your rental will help reduce energy costs substantially. Replace light bulbs with LED bulbs, and install low-flow fixtures to showerheads and faucets. Help cut down on costs during the colder months by installing insulated curtains, windows with plastic film, and electric outlet covers.