If you are currently renting your home, you probably already know that the market is pretty tight. There are fewer properties to choose from – partially because so many people were forced to move when their homes went into foreclosure and partially because there have been some scams among landlords and brokers in recent years.
However, just because the demand is high and the supply is relatively low, you can still save money as a renter as well as other monthly housing costs. The secret is in negotiating with your landlord and employing some common sense when it comes to saving a few extra bucks. Here are some things to keep in mind if you plan on re-negotiating with your landlord or moving into a rental anytime soon.
Ask for a Discount But Have a Good Reason
Sure, it never hurts to ask for a discount if you are shopping for anything, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get it. If you want to move into a particular space but want to pay a little less, have a good reason. Don’t expect a break on your rent just for asking. Don’t give a big sob story about how you can’t quite afford the rent but really want to live there. Try these reasons instead:
- The unit’s rental is higher than other similar units in the immediate area.
- Advertise that you are an excellent tenant and always pay the rent on time.
- Offer to pay several months’ rent right away (only if you can!)
- Offer to work for your discount – that means help take care of the property – mow the lawn, paint, etc.
Saving Money Goes Beyond Negotiating Cheaper Rent
As you consider moving into a rental, try your negotiation skills first, obviously. But, if that doesn’t work, look beyond that and think of some other ways you can save money each month. Here are a few logical possibilities:
- Downsize your stuff. Can you live with less? If you can, you might be able to save a little money by renting a smaller place.
- Do you have an extra room? Offer to rent it out to a friend to help with your monthly bills. It’s always a good idea to get them added to the lease.
- Conservation is key. Be aware of what you are using as far as utilities go. Turn off the light. Put on a sweater. Unplug things when not in use.
- Cut other costs. Spend less on groceries, eating out, and transportation.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line, whether you own your home or are moving into a rental, is to save as much money as possible. That means putting your negotiation skills to the test and working on a detailed budget to see where you can save the most.