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Why Is Rent So High? (And How to Find Lower Rent)


Yes, finding a low-rent apartment is becoming difficult, but it’s still possible to rent an apartment within your budget. You just have to get a little creative.

Here are a few ways you can find a place with cheaper rent:

1. Get an off-season lease

No one wants to move in January. It’s cold, it’s dark, and everyone’s still a little grumpy that it’s another nine months until fall.

But that’s precisely why starting a lease in the winter is cheaper. Rental companies want to keep their vacancies low, so they’re typically more open to negotiating lower rent in December through February when there’s less demand.

A caveat: If it means paying to break your lease elsewhere to move in the winter, the savings are probably not worth the cost.

2. Sacrifice some amenities

A balcony overlooking a pond, a high-efficiency dishwasher, and an in-unit washing machine and dryer. These all make for a luxe living space.

It also means higher rent. If the cost of rent is a real strain on your budget, determine what amenities you don’t need. High-end apartments might offer crown molding, a pool, and appliances from this decade, but they’ll also charge you way more than it’s all worth.

And it’s not just amenities you can downgrade. If it’s only you and a spouse or partner, skip the second bedroom. Guests can always sleep on the couch.

3. Pay a larger deposit

Don’t leave your haggling skills at the car dealership. When it comes to housing, everything is negotiable. Not every landlord may go for it, but you can offer to pay a larger deposit upfront in exchange for a lower monthly rent.

We’ve compiled several ways to negotiate rent to secure a more affordable lease. Agreeing to longer leases, offering to pay rent early, and volunteering to do some work (like mowing the grass) are all strategies that can work.

4. Get a roommate

In college, and during your early 20s, a roommate feels natural. Having a friend down the hall can be comforting. More importantly, a roommate splits the rent and utilities each month, leaving more money for ramen (and, sigh, student loans).

But when you’re a little older, even married, having a roommate is still a viable solution and probably the easiest way to save on rent. Typically, the price per square foot of a rental goes down if the property is larger. 

So if you and a friend are each paying for separate one-bedroom pads, you could save a significant amount of cash just by moving in together in a single two-bedroom apartment.

5. Stay put (for now)

The best way to save on moving to a new apartment is, well, not moving to a new apartment. This non-advice may seem unhelpful, especially if you’re struggling with your current rent, but until the market changes, it’ll likely cost you more to switch apartments.

Your landlord might raise your rent when it comes time to renew, but it’s unlikely that the increase will match the 15% industry average. Landlords are more apt to raise the price of a unit when renting to new tenants.

That said, it never hurts to shop around. Just don’t be alarmed when you find that everywhere else is even more expensive than your current digs.

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