Paying the rent is probably the largest monthly expense for most tenants. While purchasing a home is the best solution, it’s not possible for everyone. That’s why so many people choose to rent an apartment while they save to buy a home of their own one day. In this guide, you’ll learn how to rent by yourself and save money in the process.
1. Understand the Fair Market Rent (FMR)
FMR is the overall amount of rent a person can anticipate to pay to lease privately-held, existing, secure, clean housing. With FMR, you can establish whether your potential apartment is listed at a reasonable price. Remember that an apartment with better features might cost more than a unit with equal square footage and number of bedrooms. But if a property seems to be listed unreasonably high, you can use that to negotiate for a lower rent.
There are several sources that you can find online that provide the Fair Market Rent data for each Zip Code in the U.S. Two such examples are Hud and RentData. Even though there are various methodologies on how the FMR is calculated, most of the information you find is accurate and up to date, so you can have a basic idea of how to calculate the FMR for the unit you like.
2. Do Your Due Diligence
Find out whether your potential apartment has additional fees for parking and pets. You should also check whether your utilities will be included in the rent or if they will be a separate payment. Some apartments adopt ratio utility billing systems where the power bill is split equally among the number of apartments available. In this kind of system, it is easy to find yourself paying other tenant’s costly bills, especially if you don’t use much electricity.
If you are renting when you are single, you should set some of your time aside to look for opportunities for saving money. For instance, you can find out if the apartment offers any kind of discount, be it military or employer discounts. Through in-depth research, you can find rentals that charge neither service nor booking fees.
Related: Top 9 Tips For Tenants Renting A Property: Useful Renter's Guide
3. Bargain Lease Terms
Many single tenants don’t know that certain terms in their lease contract are actually negotiable. For instance, if your lease is supposed to start on Jan.1, but you can only occupy the apartment towards the end of January, you may be able to negotiate for a prorated rent.
4. Take Advantage of the Share Economy
While you’re going through your lease agreement, check out if it includes something about subletting. If it doesn’t, you may sublet a room within your house on a short-term basis through platforms like Airbnb, FlipKey, or VRBO. Be vigilant though, most leases come with some form of subletting provision. Check with your local legislation if short-term rentals are allowed.
Related: How To Find A Roommate In A New City: 6 Tips To A Great Start
5. Pay Rent Online
Paying rent online is a smart move, especially if you are renting as a single person. First, it ensures easier financial management – just establish an automated rent payment and focus on other important issues. Secondly, you’ll save money in the long run by avoiding any fines on past-due bills.
6. Choose Middle Floor Units
Most tenants prefer ground floor units for their easy accessibility and top-floor ones for their magnificent views. For this reason, middle floor apartments tend to have lower rent prices than their counterparts in the top floor and ground floor. So if you’re ready to deal with stairs and (possible) substandard views, you’ll save a lot of money.
7. Look for Brand New Properties
Don’t ignore brand new apartments in your area just because you think they charge higher rent prices. Sometimes newer buildings offer perks, like a rent-free first month, as a strategy for attracting new tenants. What’s more, you can enjoy extra freebies like free parking and Wi-fi, but they could also let you choose custom wall art for the rooms, or dishes and kitchen essentials.
8. Move During the Renting Off-season
“Property owners tend to hike rent prices during the popular moving seasons and lower them during the renting-off season. So if your goal is to save money, you should delay your apartment hunt until the renting off-season begins. One of the easiest ways of identifying the renting off-season is to consider the weather in the area you are considering to live in” suggests Florida Rentals.
Whether it’s performing due diligence or knowing the ins and outs of your lease agreement, putting effort into renting will go a long way in determining the quality of the apartment you get. The above 8 hacks will help you rent a home that is friendly to your single life.