If you are choosing to rent your next home, you’re probably doing so to save money. Whether you are renting a house or an apartment, you should find a home that fits within your budget. These tips will help you avoid breaking the bank when looking to rent.
Calculate your budget
Before you start shopping for homes to rent, you need to have an idea about your budget
. You don't want your rent of a new home to exceed roughly 40 percent of your monthly income. There are other factors to consider, however. Rent is just one of many expenses
when moving to a new rental. Other costs may include:
- Hiring a real estate agent
- Security deposit
- Initial groceries/eating out
- New furniture
- Any repairs or maintenance
- Utilities including electricity, gas, cable, internet, phone, water, and heating
- Cost of living in the area including transportation, taxes, toiletries, and food
- Moving company payments
Most moving expenses are one-time costs. Contrast those with ongoing expenses like rent and utilities when calculating your budget.
There are several ways you can make the one time moving expenses
fit within your budget:
- Get an in-house estimate from a moving company to get an accurate price for your move
- Get at least three different estimates from three different moving companies to find the best price
- Consider renting a moving truck instead of hiring movers
- Use recycled packing materials
- Sell, give away, or throw out excess items to make some money and to lower the cost of your shipment
- Only use full service movers if you can't do part of the job yourself
Finding an affordable rental
If you have a limited budget, look for a house or apartment that is cheap
. Your search for good offers can start online. However, you can also search through an agent, newspapers, or word of mouth to find the best local deals. Be wary when looking for rentals from anonymous online vendors, though. If the prices seem too good to be true, then they probably are.
When looking for an inexpensive place to live, balance expectations with price. Cheaper rent rates are usually due to undesirable conditions. There are a few factors that can alter a home's pricing:
- Crime rate in the area
- Availability of public transportation
- Size of the home
- Location relative to places of commerce
- Reputation of the building/landlord
- The presence of competing offers
Negotiating the lease
Whether you are renting a home or an apartment, interact with the landlord and come to a rental agreement. This is done when you sign the lease. The lease will list all of the rules for living in the rental and it will also specify the rent, security deposit, and term of the lease. The lease is a legally binding contract, so once you agree to it, you are required to pay as it says and abide by all the outlined rules. However, you also cannot be charged more than what the lease specifies.
You should be mindful of your budget when negotiating the lease
. You may find surprise charges that bring the total cost of the rental higher than expected. If you forget what you can afford, you could agree to a lease that is not truly within your budget.
When searching for places to rent and movers to get you there, your chances of finding a budget deal increase when you cast a wider net. The less picky you are, the more likely you are to find something with a good price. As always, balance what you consider deal-breakers for your home with what fits within your budget.