Regardless of where you live, rent is by far the main expense most of us have to deal with each month. Whether you’re thinking of saving up for a mortgage down payment, or simply cutting down on your rent, here are some tips that will help you save money during your time as a tenant.
Pick the right location
Places in the city center may seem more convenient, yet they are also more expensive than rentals in the suburbs. However, make sure that your rental has access to regular public transport that is preferably within walking distance of where you live, otherwise, you might find yourself paying for taxis instead.
Look for a rental in winter
Although summer months have a higher number of available listings, they also see an increase in rent price, due to the increased demand. Typically, the best time to look for rent is between December and March, when rents are at their lowest. Also, you can use the reduced turnover to negotiate a lower rent with your landlord.
Cut out agents and middlemen
An estate agent can come in handy if you’re new to renting, yet if you’re a seasoned renter, you can reduce your costs by not having to pay the commission fees that come with using an intermediary. Interacting with your landlord directly is not only a great way to get a feel for them, but you can also use it to negotiate your rent.
Use flaws to negotiate your rent
Most rentals will have traces of wear and tear, so when viewing listings, keep an eye out for them, as they can be used to negotiate a lower rent. These can be minor cosmetic flaws, such as cracked wall paint or chipped tiles, or even significant flaws, like broken fixtures. If you have a handyman streak, you can even discuss repairing them with your landlord, in exchange for a further rent reduction.
Find an unfurnished place
Unfurnished properties, or even homes that are just partly furnished, will cost less than those fully furnished and stocked with appliances. However, this can be a double-edged sword. Unless you’ve already got your own furniture, you will have to invest in at least a mattress and a table. You can look for bargains at flea markets, yet you will also need to consider the costs of transporting the furniture, and what happens to it after you move out.
Get a roommate
Perhaps the easiest way to reduce your rental costs is by finding a roommate. Whether you’re thinking of living with a friend or partner, or even moving into a rental that already has a tenant, splitting the rent and bills in two will save you a lot of money. Just make sure that the person you’ll be sharing your place with is trustworthy and easy to live with.
Get rid of unnecessary rental features
Always check the features your rental has to offer, to avoid paying for something you don’t actually need. For example, if your rental comes with a parking space but you don’t have a car, then you can ask your landlord to deduct it from your monthly fee. If your rental comes with a cable subscription, but you don’t have a TV or prefer to use streaming services instead, you can negotiate a lower rent on account of not using those features.
Rent long term
Landlords prefer tenants that can commit for extended periods of time, as it ensures that they won’t be losing money while their space is unoccupied. Therefore, look into signing a lease for 18 months or two years, rather than 6 months. This way, you can also talk to your landlord about potentially reducing the rent, in exchange for long-term stability.
Use less water and electricity
Being frugal in your use of both water and electricity is not only good for the environment, but also a great way to save money on your bills. Try taking showers instead of baths, turning off the lights when not in the room, and keep the doors shut to prevent heat from escaping.
Don’t over decorate
Rentals can be very impersonal, so it’s tempting to give them a homey vibe by adding your personal touch. Yet buying home decorations, like carpets, paintings and various knick-knacks, can easily become a needless expense. Less is more when renting, so put the money you would spend on decorations into your savings instead.
Keep it tidy
Getting your full deposit back is a must if you want to save money while renting. The easiest way to ensure this is by staying on top of cleanliness, which will also reduce any potential damage to the place, such as stains that are hard to remove, mold, or plumbing issues. If the time has come to move out and you’re not sure what qualifies as property damage vs. regular wear and tear, this article will help shed some light.